Is Social Media Safe for Children? How to Delete an Account on Instagram

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram….  Who doesn’t have a profile on at least two of these, and maybe on all of them?  These are some of the most popular social media networks in the world.  In fact, a study in Digital in 2017 Global Overview , from We Are Social and Hootsuite, shows that there are 2,798 million active users on social media.   The leader is Facebook, followed by Twitter and Instagram.  Instagram is the favorite with adolescents.  Everyday more and more young people and minors are creating profiles on Instagram.

On Facebook and YouTube, the users are generally between the ages of 18 and 49,  more predominantly women, (83% women vs. 75% men).  On Twitter, the age range goes down to 18 to 29 years old on average.  And Instagram is the one which attracts the younger users, even as young as 10 years old.  And according to the IAB Annual Study of Social Media, this is the favorite network of young people between 12 and 18 years of age.  Instagram lets them post photographs on their profile, which is very visual and therefore attracts the youngest generation.

These are the statistics which cause alarm, since adults can also use these profiles.  Parents are aware of the dangers of such exposure. There are some safety measures they can put in place, such as privacy of the profiles, control of followers, etc.  Nevertheless, a minor is still more vulnerable and runs the risk of becoming the victim of a very unpleasant situation on the Internet.

What are the dangers for children on the Internet

According to a study by the INE (Instituto Nacional de Espana), 93.3% of children between 10 and 15 years old already have a cell phone and use social media, sharing their profiles in public and putting their privacy at risk.  On a social network like Instagram, they are not only attracted by being able to share their interesting photos, but they also follow the profiles of their favorite movie stars or other popular Instagrammers, as well as their friends.   This can turn into a trap for the most innocent children, since they can end up talking to anybody on these profiles, without really knowing who is on the other side.

But this isn’t the only danger. There are a number of other risks connected with their profiles:

What are the dangers facing adolescents on social media?

 Cyberbullying:  In 2016 alone, the ANAR (Foundation to Help Children and Adolescents) registered 1,207 cases of cyberbullying.  Without realizing it, we’ve adapted to this new, connected lifestyle, and we can’t imagine being without social media. But it has also let abusive people take over social media to bully others  and carry out cyberbullying.

Blackmail:  Using their own photographs, children can be blackmailed for money or other things which are even more harmful.

Pornography:  The photographs which children publish can be stolen and used on illegal child pornography sites.

False Identity/Identity Takeover:  Hocelot, a start up specialized in verifying information, found that as of last June, 15% of the profiles on social media are false.     We already know that people often find a fake profile where someone else has taken over their identity.  In the case of Instagram, there are times when children find photographs with their own name on accounts which they never created.  The most frightening thing about this is that we don’t know the real reason why this was done.  We only know that the intentions of that person are 100% harmful for the child.

Grooming:  Unfortunately, children can also become victims of sexual abuse on social media, through fake profiles that set up conversations with minors, by pretending to be someone who they are not.  The University of Lleida in 2016 published a study: “New Technologies and Sexual Victimization of Minors, Using Online Grooming”.  This study said that more than 60% of the victims are girls, and 3 out of 4 of the offenders are men.  This is something to keep very much in mind when trying to protect yourself.

These are just a few of the dangers that can affect anyone, but it is children who are much less prepared to defend themselves.  Therefore, it’s important for adults to pay special attention to what their children are doing on the Internet, they should know at all times the profile they have, what they are posting, who they are communicating with, and who can see their profile.  They may even have to go so far as closing their accounts if they believe the children are being exposed to more than they should be.

Therefore, we are going to explain here how to delete an account on Instagram.  This is so important, since it’s the favorite network of the very youngest children.

How to permanently delete an account on Instagram:

Deleting an account on Instagram is not as easy as we might think, but it’s also not impossible.  To begin with, you can’t do this from inside the Instagram app, which can be a stumbling block for some parents, making them give up and leave the site without having erased the photos already posted.

But don’t panic.  It can be done and it’s not that difficult.  You just need a computer or mobile browser in order to make these photographs disappear forever. 

  1. Go into from your computer and begin the session with your user name and password. If you don’t remember it, click on “Forgot my password” to get a new one.
  2. Before you delete your account forever, we want to let you know that it’s possible to disable it temporarily, in case you want to recover your photos later. In this case, you should click on “edit profile”. Once you’re there, click on “temporarily disable my account”. This will cause the profile that we want to cancel to disappear from public view.  But if we want to go back and reopen it, we can do this by going back in with our access information.
  3. But here, we want to focus on how to delete an Instagram account permanently, so we can be sure that the child, in this case, is out of danger. Before you do anything, save on your computer the photos that you want to keep, since once the account is eliminated, you can never recover them.
  4. Now comes the hard part: How to find the link to delete your account? In the footer of the page where you edit your profile, there is a secondary menu which you can access.  Here, you need to click on the HELP button.
  5. Then, you need to click on “Administer my account”; there you’ll see the button “Delete my account”. When you go into this, you’ll see two options and you should click on:  “How to delete my account?”
  6. Once on this page, there will be a text explaining how to do it. Go directly to the button “delete my account”, which will finally take you to the page where you can delete your profile.
  7. Click on “delete the account”, putting in our password again, and click again on “permanently delete my account.”

Voila! We’ve now permanently deleted the account, keeping our children out of danger.

In this article we’ve talked about how to delete an account on Instagram,- the most popular social network for children.  But you also need to keep the other social networks in mind, and determine if the child should have a profile on them or if we should also close them.  And of course, always go to the authorities if you think a child is in danger from a predator on the Internet.