We wrote earlier this month about messaging app Kik’s new Guide for Parents. The update was warranted after Kik messages were linked to a teen’s murder by an older predator. In that post, we pointed out that Kik offers to delete underage users’ accounts at the request of parents. From the guide:
“If you would like to deactivate your teen’s Kik account, but aren’t able to get access to your teen’s email account, you can submit a deactivation request to Kik by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line ‘Parent Inquiry’. A member of the Kik Support Team will send you a deactivation request form, which can be returned to Kik for processing.”
That might not sound like a big deal but it is. In fact, it is the exact opposite of Instagram’s policy, which has been an issue for dozens of parents who have reached out to us. Parents can submit a form to Instagram, but unless there is proof in the account that the user is under 13, Instagram will not act. They will not even respond to parents.
We decided to test Kik’s process to see if it in fact worked as advertised. I set up a Kik account for my under-13 daughter on her phone and traded a couple of messages with her. I then downloaded the Account Deactivation Request form and filled it out. All the info that I was required to submit was her name, Kik screen name and email address.
Success! Kik deactivated the account within a week. To make this available to parents is no small deal – Kik has over 275 million users.
You can check out the complete Kik Guide for Parents here.
It’s high time that Instagram step up and do the right thing by parents.
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