What it Is:
Ask.fm is a popular social app where preteens and teens can ask and answer questions posted by users. Topics range from favorite animals to math questions to celebrity crushes. Young people are drawn to this particular app because it can be used anonymously.
What Parents Need to Know:
Ask.fm boasts about 65 million users and has a huge user base in Europe. Half of those users are under 18 — meaning that the site’s active user base consists largely of children. Because it is anonymous, topics can get out of hand and off track. Inappropriate sexual inquiries, and cyberbullying have been reported. According to Business Insider, “nine teenagers connected to Ask.fm have committed suicide after receiving scores of hateful anonymous messages on the site.” The teens ranged in ages from just 12 to 17. Since those suicides, Ask.fm has claimed to take further measures to control privacy settings and has developed a system to report abuse within the site.
Users can also decide how they want to use the app. According to Common Sense Media, “Anonymous answers are optional. Users can decide whether to allow anonymous posts and can remove their answers from streaming to decrease their profile’s visibility. If teens do use the site, they’d be best turning off anonymous answers and keeping themselves out of the live stream.” This will keep anonymous people from posting mean or inappropriate responses to the users questions.
Project B3 Tips and Suggestions:
- Decide within your family if this app is appropriate for your child and at what age.
- This an app that will need parental monitoring. Encourage your child to turn off the anonymous answers to prevent “inappropriate responses.”
- This app is an ideal platform for cyberbullying to occur.