We got the following message this week via our website. Unfortunately, we get these types of requests far more often than we should.
“Could you please help!!!! I need to get my daughters YouTube channel shut down but she has forgotten all the details so we can’t get it to do it. It’s not videos I allowed her to make and they could be used inappropriately. Tried everything and so far it seems there is no way of getting through to them help!!!”
We have no idea exactly how many times this type of situation plays out in an average week or month, but we bet it’s a big number. The age limit for YouTube and most social networks (yes, YouTube is a social network) is 13. Typically, a tween under the age of 13 opens an account on a social network without parental permission, and later a parent finds out and tells the child to delete the account. The child claims to have forgotten the login credentials, or actually did forget them, and is unwilling or unable to delete the account.
We absolutely, positively think that parents, if they so choose, should be able to delete a minor’s social media account, or demand that the network delete it. Not just minors under the age of 13, but any minors. That’s not the case.
The law, as it turns out, has deemed that if the account “owner” (in these cases a minor, which is ironic) is under 13 and the network has “actual knowledge” that the user is under 13, they must delete the account. If the child is 13 – 17, years old, the network doesn’t have to shut down the account. Here’s what else they DON’T HAVE TO DO:
- Provide and email address or phone number for parents to make contact
- Respond to parents in the event that they do make contact and request an account be deleted
YouTube used to respond to emails sent to firstname.lastname@example.org but that email address no longer functions. Instead, they direct you to submit a form via the website. Here are the current options:
How a parent-friendly option? Something like, “This user is underage and I am the parent”? The parent quoted above is clearly distressed, and rightly so. If the laws in fact do allow networks to ignore parental requests, or makes it impossible to make them, that needs to change.
Please leave a comment below if you agree, disagree or have a different take.
Contact ThirdParent any time for help and resources for monitoring child and teen internet activity.