Ask.fm: a Forum for Bullying
A popular new website is leading to a new kind of bullying for teens. Ask.fm is increasing in popularity, but according to many users it fosters cyber bullying, and has even been blamed for a number of suicides.
Most parents don’t even know about the website Ask.fm, but many teens are making use of it to socialize with other teens around the world.
Teens can ask and answer questions of other teens, posting them to their own site. Questions like What is your favorite movie? or How often to you think about your future? are frequently asked.
The problem with the site is that teens can answer questions on other teens’ pages anonymously, which makes it a breeding ground for unkind words and bullying.
Vicious messages flood the site, as teens say things in private that they would not otherwise be comfortable saying.
While some teens can brush off hurtful messages, others cannot stop thinking about them. The cruel statements become a kind of internal dialogue for some teens, and it results in a plummeting self-confidence in these young adults.
Keeping Teens Safe Online
In today’s world, as children have access to websites and social media sites that often make it easy for teens to harass one another, parents must remain vigilant. Parents should know what their children are doing when on the Internet, and set limits to the time their child spends on social media sites.
Young children should be monitored when online by using the computer in a dining room or another high traffic area of the house. As more and more teens have cell phones and personal devices that can access these sites, parents should periodically visit their teen’s sites and check for any dangerous activity.
Most importantly, parents should pay close attention to their child’s moods and behaviors, and get help if they suspect any kind of bullying, depression, or mental illness.