Counter-Punching Kik (and all apps)

KikIf your child has an application with this icon on their mobile device (phone or iPod), please DELETE. If you don’t know, even more reason to take action and look for it.

The application Kik is a dangerous social media platform that ostensibly is about group messaging, but actually exposes its participants to a wide array of users. Stories abound around the nation of children being propositioned, seeing pornographic images, and even being abducted. I created an account recently to better understand Kik, and was immediately inundated with “Kik Requests” from dozens of people with veiled identities – I felt both disturbed and out of my depth. Google it and you’ll feel the same.

Here at Cathedral the app was prevalent (discovered Kik being used in 3rd grade), and we had a handful of very unpleasant run-ins with it. These run-ins ranged from inappropriateness to brushes with a world no child should be exposed to. I hate dramatics, so take my word: if you allow your son/daughter to be on this app they will encounter serious, and likely dangerous, encounters they are not prepared to handle.

All of that being said, we are in the role of counter-puncher: There will always be a new app, always be a way to get around the system, always adults with bad intentions. Please help us by…
1.)    Considering Covenant Eyes: http://www.lincolndiocese.org/ministries-offices/diocesan-offices/freedom-from-pornography/1532-covenant-eyes-internet-protection
2.)    Monitoring Phone/iPad Settings: http://www.lincolndiocese.org/ministries-offices/diocesan-offices/freedom-from-pornography/tools-for-parents
3.)    Checking phones/iPods (all of our incidents at Cathedral have involved iPods).
4.)    Most  importantly, start or continue the conversation about decision making, human dignity in the real and virtual world, and being a responsible person in a culture where digital footprints are forever.
5.)    When you feel a student is in danger, contact the school administration. You may take screenshots of text and messages to send to the administration, but DO NOT screenshot photos or images (this would be considered possession and distribution).For more information, please read the below articles regarding Kik and 7 other apps surfacing…

Kik: http://www.chicagonow.com/tween-us/2013/11/what-parents-need-to-know-about-kik/

The 8 Worst Apps for Kids: http://www.education.com/magazine/article/worst-apps-kids/As a reminder: Phones & iPods are not allowed in school.

If we find one the teacher will confiscate. If they confiscate and it has Kik on it the phone will be brought to the main office and a parent will need to pick it up.

The spirit here is student safety, not punitive judgments.

A Parent-Teacher Conference Manifesto