August 13, 2013
Should we shut down Ask.fm? 7
Over the next couple of weeks, I’m asking some questions about social media in an attempt to see what we can do about the spate of social problems that seem to come with them. I’m primarily focusing on Ask.fm, as it’s the one on the news but this could apply to any web site that allows interaction.
One of the most common things I’ve been hearing is that we should shut down web sites like Ask.fm. I do not believe this is the answer. Over the last year, since the tragic deaths of the two teenage girls in Ireland, Ask.fm have added features to help with cyber-bullying. On their web site, they state:
If you receive a question that makes you uncomfortable for any reason, do not respond to the question, tell a parent, guardian or other trusted adult and block the user who sent it so they can’t contact you again. If the person keeps bothering you, report abuse to us by pressing the Report button and to law enforcement.
In fact, Ask.fm have a complete page dedicated to keeping safe on their site with sound advice. They now allow users to not be anonymous. They also have a report button. They also advise young people to speak to an adult or the police. If we ban Ask.fm, young people will simply find an alternative web site that probably won’t have these safety features. The problem doesn’t appear to be the web site, the problem is how it is being used.