#1. ASKfm: A Tool for Cruel?
What is ASKfm?
One of the original honesty apps, ASKfm is a social network that lets users anonymously ask / answer questions. People can’t see who is following them, but they can see the number of followers they have.
Who has ASKfm?
With more than 150 million users around the world, it’s estimated that 42% of its users are under age 17.
How does ASKfm work?
After creating an account, users can post an anonymous question. Then people who they are following can respond with a text, photo or video. Questions are asked anonymously, however answers to questions are identified by username and photo. ASKfm lets all users post their own questions. While many of them are positive in nature, not all are, and many request feedback on personal appearance with provocative images.
Why is ASKfm dangerous?
Founded in 2010 by Latvian brothers Ilja and Mark Terebin, AskFM was blamed for a rash of teen suicides. In 2014, ASKfm was purchased by the owners of Tinder and Ask.com amid promises to invest “millions” into improving safety and to reduce cyberbullying. Its recently released feature Shoutout allows users to ask questions to fellow ASKfm-ers who are geographically close to them. This includes both people you follow, and those you don’t. It also means that you can receive questions from people who happen to be in your vicinity (example: your school, neighborhood, live music concert or other event).
What should I do if my child has an ASKfm account?
Be aware that there are no private accounts on ASKfm. Your child will not be able to see who is following them, and everything they post can be seen by everyone. Explain this to your child. It is also critical that your child understands that their profile is public and searchable beyond ASKfm. Their profile picture, background picture and posts can be found on Google. Given this, it is critical that their profile name does not contain their first or last name, even though the app will automatically generate their user name with their real name when creating an account. If your child links their ASKfm account to their Facebook account, friends will still be able to find their profile.
In order to disable Shoutout, follow the directions below:
From your child’s device, open the ASKfm app and tap upper left “hamburger” menu.
Deselect Allow Shoutout
Photo courtesy: Facebook