Ask.fm is an online question-and-answers sort of social networking platform that is under the ownership of the two Russian brothers. Soon after its inception, the website gained a large amount of exposure and with over 40 Million users to boot, it became the go-to app for teens all around the world. The website can be logged in with Facebook, Twitter or G+ Account, which is part of the reason for its success. No longer would you have to fill out long forms to sign up, but rather you could just sign in with your social media account in just a second. While Ask.fm was the talk of the town almost 2 years ago, almost instantly it became home to bullies. With Ask.fm being the medium related to several deaths, suicides, and assaults, it is considered one of the most inappropriate apps available on the market today.
Some of the people that already use ask.fm might argue that there is nothing wrong with the app, and to some extent, they might even be right. But, it doesn’t matter what the app itself can do. It is what people can do with the app. Some of the reasons that caused people to start pointing fingers towards Ask.fm are as follows:
Ask.fm is quite famous for its anonymity. It does require its users to log in with an account, but it allows its users to ask a question anonymously. This is very dangerous for teens. They might never know if their secret admirer is the person they claim to be or someone that just wants to deprive them of their innocence. The users have no idea who is asking any of the questions on their timeline. This gives people the opportunity to freely ask people whatever they want, no matter how inappropriate and abusive the questions might be. Other than that, Ask.fm has some serious privacy issues. Like Twitter or Instagram, you cannot block anyone on Ask.fm. If there is someone that does ask the abusive question, you’re just going to have to suck it up because the company doesn’t care.
Apparently, ask.fm is the most comfortable home to online predators and child molesters. There have been tons of reported cases where the younger person ends up committing suicide – or at least tries to. A few of these cases are stated below:
- A 14-year old girl committed suicide by hanging herself in her bedroom after receiving several messages telling her to kill herself.
- A 12-year old girl jumped off a factory building in Florida. The Police Report stated that the girl had suffered more than a year of cyberbullying.
- A 15-year old boy was found dead in Lancashire Village. Later, investigations showed that he was abused various times on ask.fm and people also said that he deserved to die.
When the company was still under the ownership of the Russian brothers, there were no significant changes in the app to prevent cyberbullying, but after the company was bought by ask.com, the new owners promised that they would do everything they can to prevent cyberbullying on ask.fm, stating that they are not willing to run a cyberbullying website, and they would shut it down if they failed to do just so.
What Can Parents Do?
It is very tough for a parent to keep an eye on their child’s online activity, whether it is ASK.FM or some other social networking platform. Most of the parents that want to keep track of a child’s activity end up endangering their relationship with their kids. This is something you never want to do. The most suitable things for a parent to do would be to use Parental Monitoring Applications, like TheOneSpy, which can let you monitor your kids remotely. TheOneSpy can keep total track of a child’s phone. It uses GPS to track your teen’s phone so you can be aware of their whereabouts at all times. It can monitor all the social networking apps on your child’s phone. It can tap into your child’s calls and messages and transfer them to your personalized account. TOS can also store the browsing history and block the websites that you deem inappropriate for your teen. TOS can also trigger the microphone and camera on a device so the parents can know where their child is sitting – and more importantly who they are sitting with. Thus, making sure that you can keep a keen eye on your child and make sure that they stay away from the life-threatening danger known as Ask.fm.