The internet is not a safe place for kids, and yet the world of social media trends strongest among teens and pre-teens looking to fit in. Because of this, allowing your kid internet independence while trying to protect them can feel like an impossible duality.
In a popular post on the AITA subreddit, a man asked if he was wrong for reporting his niece's social media accounts in order to protect her. He wrote:
So, a couple of weeks ago I (M35) had my sister (F39) and her family (including Niece, F11) over for a barbecue. We had a pretty good time, with the exception of Niece who was pretty much constantly on her phone recording Tiktoks. Slightly annoying but ultimately not my kid, not my problem. I've talked to my sister a while ago about being careful what Niece is putting online, protecting her identity etc.
My sister brushed it off, saying that Niece was sensible enough not to do anything stupid. I figure I'd try and bridge the gap, so I ask Niece what she's recording, "It's a tiktok, you're old, you wouldn't get it". I work in tech, so it's not like I don't know what I'm talking about, but I decided to let it slide and do some digging later.
Turns out Niece has used her full government name to register for Tiktok, with links to her public instagram with the same name, so I did what any reasonable person would do - reported everything for being under 13. Instagram, Youtube, Tiktok, everything I could find.
With the nature of tiktok trends, some of the stuff on there was stuff that 11-year-olds probably shouldn't be doing, and definitely shouldn't be recording. Fast forward to today, Sister calls me and asks me if I can have a look at Niece's Ipad. Apparently, she can't log into any of her accounts and she's having a meltdown about it.
I talk her through it and it quickly becomes apparent that the accounts are blocked and asking for ID. I'm in two minds whether to tell her it was me that reported the account or just tell her to submit the ID knowing it'll get Niece permabanned. So, AITA for nuking my nieces social media?
YTA. It's not your place and she won't be able to get her name back on social media because you decided to play hero. Lame.
All the people who are saying "NTA" but also telling you not to tell the truth are telling you all you need to know. You ARE the AH. You explained your concerns to her parent. That's fine, but it's also as far as you're allowed to go. You are NOT her parent, and you have no right to overrule her parents.
You want to know how you can tell you're the AH? You don't want to stand behind your actions and take responsibility for them. You want to hide.
If you do things you're not willing to own up to, you're an asshole. End of story.
(BTW: Anybody who wants to argue with me about it, don't bother. I already assume a lot of people reading this post are also AHs. Neither you nor I profit from any of you going out of your way to identify yourself as one.
Tell her mom the truth. Those accounts were blocked / taken down by the sites for inappropriate underaged content. That’ll have her checking her own kids posts a lot closer.
Not TA, you've done a good service to her and kids in general. Permaban her please. Adults are out there looking for kids Plus she's used her real names for shit like an idiot... anyone can find her. This is to keep her safe since her mother won't.
After receiving mixed responses, OP jumped on with some updates/clarifications.
EDIT: Thanks for your advice, seems like most people are with me on this. I'm not going to tell her it was me, I'm assuming she'll probably create new accounts and if those come up I'll speak to her mum. There were a couple of bits a few people mentioned, so I'll add them here rather than copypaste a load:
"You banned her government name, she'll just use a pseudonym" - Good. It's one less thing people can use to track her down, and one less thing someone can hold over her if something goes wrong. I'm not stupid enough to think this will stop her, but maybe she'll start to understand that she needs to be smarter about it.
"She's not your kid to parent/You should have spoken to her mum about it" - True, and one of the reasons why I questioned if IWTA. My sister is great in many ways, but tech isn't one of them. I tried it the reasonable way, I probably overstepped but I don't think removing someone from a dangerous situation is a problem.
"You're invading her privacy" - She's 11, posting stuff publicly under her government name. If you think any of that constitutes "privacy", I don't know what to tell you.
The reality is - whether OP is TA or not, it seems likely his niece will get back on social media. But maybe this time, it'll be with an alias.