Ask.fm Cyberbullying

Jun 05, 2013

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Ask.fm is a new social networking site that has quickly gotten a bad reputation. The site lets you ask questions of your friends anonymously, but that very anonymity seems to be leading some teens to feel that they can cyberbully others without getting caught. The anonymity leads to a poisonous culture where anyone can say any number of nasty and abusive things to their friends without fear of retaliation. Any of a user’s friends on the site could be the bully—or all of them.

The site’s rules say that you must be 13 to sign up, but kids can lie. It’s easy to sign up via your Facebook page, which automatically notifies your friends you’ve signed up.

One teenage girl had this to say about the site: “Within two hours, I had people telling me to kill myself... Someone needs to say something. “

Cyberbullying is serious because there is no escape from it. You can’t just leave the bullies at school and go home. The bullies are there wherever you go online, and not going online is not an option when that’s where all your friends hang out after school.

And unfortunately, some of the teens being cyberbullied have committed suicide. The site has been linked to six suicides. One 15-year-old boy killed himself after receiving several abusive comments that actually told him to kill himself.

Net Nanny Social monitors several popular social networking sites for the danger signs of cyberbullying, as well as other unsavory behaviors online. It doesn’t monitor ask.fm, but there is nothing to be gained from hanging out on a site where teens have free reign to torment each other with anonymous comments with no fear of retaliation. The site’s owners refuse to change anything, instead blaming the users for the vicious behavior that is leading to suicides. Does your child have an account on ask.fm? Is it worth it?

I work for Net Nanny and all opinions are my own.