EDIT as of 3/19/2015: We have received dozens of requests from parents asking for help deleting a minor’s (under 13 years old) Instagram account. Instagram is not responding to requests, from parents or from ThirdParent, to delete accounts.
Some things have changed. Please try this form to delete your child’s account:
If Instagram does not reply within 3 weeks, or delete the account, you can enroll in our service and we will help you to the best of our ability.
As is the case with most social networks, the age limit to join Instagram is 13. The age limit is dictated by the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), which is designed to protect personally identifying information (PII) of minors under the age of 13 who use the internet.
As is also the case with most social networks, Instagram does not have a mechanism in place to confirm that users are actually 13 years old. When a user sets up an Instagram account, she tells the network her age and as long as she claims that she is at least 13 that’s the end of it, whether she is 9 or 59 years old.
Some risks for very young users can be fairly benign, such as advertisers being able to access a user’s PII and content to target them with marketing messages for products that are not age appropriate. Other risks are more significant, such as predator risk or viewing content that is not age appropriate.
Where Instagram separates itself from most other networks is that it has an easy to use process to report underage users so that their accounts can be shut down. According to the company:
Instagram requires everyone to be at least 13 years old before they can create an account. If your child is underage and created an account on Instagram, you can show them how to delete their account.
If you’d like to report an account belonging to someone under 13, please fill out this form. In order to delete a child’s account, we will need to verify that the child is underage and a violation of our Terms is taking place.
As you can see from the above, whether you are the parent or not, you can report the account of an underage user in an appeal to have Instagram to delete the account. Since many parents have no clue what their kids are doing with their apps, this can be helpful. Nice job by Instagram getting this one right.
Contact ThirdParent any time for help and resources for monitoring teen internet activity.