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instagram photoInstagram, the “fast, beautiful and fun way to share your photos with friends and family” app for smartphones could be a disaster for our kids. Children under 13 are on Instagram. It is ultra simple for kids to sign up and begin posting photos of themselves. The service makes it very easy to sign up and get online. What is more concerning is that it appears the default setting for the “Photos are Private” is “OFF.”

Very young children are signing up for this, wanting to add their school friends, etc.  Strangers can apparently connect to their accounts.  You cannot disable accounts manually from within the app.

Instagram’s first listed basic terms of use are:

“1.You must be 13 years or older to use this site.”

Since Facebook bought Instagram for 1 billion dollars recently there appears to be a motive to prevent permanent deletion of precious content that will result in future advertising revenue.

For parents who want to delete their children’s account on Instagram/Facebook you will need to log in to their account, not from the app, but from a web browser. You will  need their user name or email address and their account password. Once in, you will need to go to manage settings and then at the lower right hand corner their is a plain text link to delete the account.  On January 19, 2013 apparently kids pictures go into the permanent Facebook server archives.

While Instagram has not hidden how to delete an account, it has not made it as simple as opening an account.  Instagram should make it very simple to permanently delete not only the account but also all archived back ups of any photographs from within the app.