by Lily Bradic
You may have already heard of Ask.fm — it made several headlines last year, and not in a good way. The site's best known for its role in online bullying and related teen suicides.
What is Ask.fm?
Ask.fm is a social networking site presented in question and answer format. Users can ask questions to all their followers at once, and to individual users. Answered questions are then posted live. Questions can be asked anonymously, and this is where the trouble starts.
The site has very strong social media integration, so questions and answers are often posted to Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter. Of course, users can disable this or hide it from their feeds, but most choose not to.
Who uses Ask.fm?
Tweens and teens. The site has a 13+ policy, but then, so does Facebook, and there are plenty of under-thirteens on there.
Why should you care?
If you’re a parent or teacher, you need to be aware of Ask.fm. Kids are abusing the “anonymous” setting to send each other violent, sexualised and bullying content. The privacy settings are pretty poor on Ask.fm — although, after several suicide cases, the site did make a few improvements, such as making it easier to turn off anonymous questions and report abuse.
There’s also cyber self-harm — a relatively new phenomenon — to worry about. It turned out that Hannah Smith, who hung herself after being extensively bullied on Ask.fm, had been writing the abusive anonymous messages herself.
Is Ask.fm good for marketing?
No. Ask.fm has no value to you, or your kids, or anyone else. There are petitions to get this site shut down, and considering its current reputation, you’d really gain nothing from using it.
To sum it up, this is one to be wary of and stay away from. Have a question? Get in touch, and we'll see what we can do for you!