A man got his niece banned from social media because posting online is dangerous! Should he come clean and fix the accounts, or should he just let them be?
It All Started Over BBQ
A couple of weeks before this story was posted, OP (Original Poster), a 35-year-old man, his 39-year-old sister, and her family, including OP’s 11-year-old niece, came over for a barbecue.
The entire family had a good time, but there was one exception.
OP’s niece was on her phone the entire time the family was together, making TikTok videos. While he could have been annoyed, OP said, “Not my kid, not my problem.”
A Lot of Trust
One thing OP had done was talk to his sister about his niece and being online. He wanted to make sure she knew to protect her identity, but his sister told him his niece was “sensible enough” not to “do anything stupid.”
Seeing his niece on her phone, he engaged with her and asked her what she was doing. She responded, “I’m recording a TikTok. You’re old and wouldn’t get it.”
Not That Old
Since he worked in the technology sector, OP wasn’t as old and out of touch as she thought. Still, he figured it wasn’t worth fighting about and decided to do some digging later.
What OP discovered when he checked on his niece was worse than he thought. She had used her full government name for her account on TikTok and linked it to Instagram and other social media.
A Hard Choice
OP had to decide since her real name was all over her social media. In the end, he made up his mind to report her so that the platform would suspend her accounts for not being old enough to have them, the cutoff age being 13.
Not for Nothing
OP didn’t feel bad because he didn’t think she should expose herself to TikTok trends at her age. Many of them are unsafe, and they aren’t suitable for someone as young as his niece to interact with.
All of a Sudden
A couple of weeks later, OP got a call from his sister asking if he could look at his niece’s iPad. Her mom said that she could not log onto any of her social media and was having a meltdown over it.
The Hidden Truth
OP asked questions to determine what was happening and discovered his report had worked. The social media platforms wanted a valid ID.
He didn’t know how to respond. Should he tell the truth that he reported the accounts or let his niece input her ID and get her account banned for being too young?
Wrestling With Ethics
OP added some edits to his original post, addressing and opening up about the ethical and moral questions going through his mind.
He wrote, “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.”
Didn’t Go Far Enough
All in all, OP knows that though he’s got his niece’s government name banned, she can just use a pseudonym. However, for him, it wasn’t such a big problem.
OP shared, “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.”
OP also recognizes the fact that his niece is not his own child. He may have gone too far, but in his defense, he tried talking to his sister about it before he did everything.
He said, “My sister is great in many ways, but technology 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.”
Are You Serious?
Then, though some may accuse him of “invading his niece’s privacy,” OP’s standing by his decision.
OP ended by saying, “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.”
What the Community Has to Say
The comment section had many people who approved of what OP did. Many people offered advice and tried to offer OP some much-needed support.
One said, “Not the a**hole. The things parents expect their kids to know without actually teaching them are baffling. There’s a line from The Green Mile, ‘How many years did you spend p****** on a toilet seat before someone told you to put it up?’ That’s an example of common sense that you learn from experience. And the result is that you make a mess of the toilet seat that you must clean up. With social media, the consequences are something that people don’t usually see right away. And it’s usually not something as easily cleaned as a toilet seat. Is there a way to nudge your sister and niece toward the reason behind her blocked accounts?”
One even pointed out to OP that this wasn’t a unique case, saying, “Not the a**hole. I’ve been in a similar predicament with my niece, who was the same age. She posted inappropriate stuff on an alternate Instagram account she had linked from her main one, with tags about sugar daddies, etc. I immediately messaged her mom—my sister—and instead of asking me what the account was so she could look them up, she told her 11-year-old. Who, of course, denied it and deleted the accounts before my sister could find them. I was kicking myself for not taking screenshots or anything because the next thing I knew, my a**hole of a sister was telling me off and how her daughter would never do that, etc. My nieces stopped talking to me, and all three of them acted like I randomly decided to make up drama about an 11-year-old one day. I cut off contact after the nasty messages I got from someone more comfortable being in denial than actually parenting and believing her sister.”
When You’re Older
Though some still went against what OP did, the majority believed he did the right thing. He shouldn’t regret anything because he was just trying to protect his niece.
One Redditor pointed out that he had no choice but to step up, saying, “Not the a**hole, but don’t tell them it was you. Just say someone must have reported her for breaking the terms of service and being underage. That it was you is irrelevant because it should have been someone, and unfortunately, you had to step up.”
Do you think OP did the right thing? Or should he have had another conversation with her mother about it?
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This post first appeared as He “Nuked” His 11-Year-Old Niece’s Social Media Accounts, Getting Them Deleted and Banned. She’s “Freaking Out,” but He’s Just Looking Out for Her “Safety” and “Privacy!” Was He Wrong? on Quote Ambition.