The guide explains things like how the app works and what parents can do if their child has sent or received inappropriate messages.
It advises parents who want to monitor their child’s account to “ask your teen not to delete chats, and to provide you with access to their device.”
The “Guide for Law Enforcement” says, “Kik is rated 9+ in the iTunes Store and Teen in the Google Play store, and a user must enter their birth date and be 13 years of age or older in order to register a Kik account.”
Krawczyk said the policy does little to prevent even younger users from creating accounts, either on their own or with the help of older siblings and friends.
He was troubled but by no means shocked by some of the messages CBC showed him from Alicia’s account.
“We’re only seeing the beginning here. If you really developed a relationship … there would be more pressure on,” he said.
“And that’s how children get caught up in it and next thing you know it`s too late.”
Krawczyk said Kik has become more receptive to requests for information in police investigations, despite earlier difficulties when Kik launched seven years ago.
Still, Kik’s legal guide makes clear that the company does not “have access to the text of Kik conversations” and reserves the right “pursuant to applicable law to refuse to provide information.”
Krawczyk feels parents need to be more aware of what apps their children are using and how they work.
He recalled a recent case involving an eight-year-old girl who sent “inappropriate pictures” to a stranger. When he asked the girl’s parents for her password, Krawczyk said they had to ask their daughter to tell them what it was.
“It is the most frustrating part of my job — parents who have no clue what their kids are doing,” he said.
He encourages parents to let children know they should tell someone if they receive random messages from people they don’t know.
“If your child does get in a situation hopefully they’ll feel comfortable enough to come to you and say: ‘I got in over my head … can you look at this?’ And we’ve had that, and that’s good,” he said.