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Cyberbullying: One social media site being blamed for fourteen suicides
Most parents are on many social media sites, they think they have a good handle on their kids. But your kids are no longer on those sites. They've found new ones that you don't even know about. One site is now being blamed for 14 suicides in the country this year.
Most parents know about Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and maybe even Snapchat, but the scary thing is there are tons of sites they've never even heard of.
According to authorities, one of the most dangerous ones is Ask.Fm. It allows users to anonymously ask each other questions. Well its quickly turned into a nightmare for many children.
"These kids are so cut-throat, I've never even read it in a book some of the things I see." said a Crestview mother who does not want to be identified. She isn't revealing who she is in order to protect her daughter.
She's speaking out so other parents will know what's out there.
Many of the questions which are supposed to be innocent, turned into this. "Why did you not just kill yourself, next time use a real pair of scissors or a gun."
The bullying got so bad, last summer, the 16 year old tried to kill herself. Her mom said, "It was just too much, she went into my drawer and got a pair of scissors and tried to hurt herself. I called 911 and luckily got her help."
She says the bullying had happened when the kids were out of school, so they didn't contact the school district. They also called the Sheriff's office several times, but felt helpless.
They took her off the site, moved to the other side of town, and decided to home school her . Her mom said, "I didn't know anything about Ask.Fm."
She says the saddest part is her daughter is missing out on high school. "She's missed every single bit of it, no prom, no homecoming, no opportunity to be on any debate teams, she can't even go to a football game."
According to Huffington post, the site has been linked to the suicides of 14 teenagers in less than a year. Kelcey Killingsworth is a counselor at Cordova Counseling Center. She says teens are attracted to this site because it's anonymous. She said, " The anonymity of people being able to comment. It's not policed very well. It's not based in United States"
She says the problem is the bullying is now 24/7. Killingsworth said, "You can reach a wider audience. It's not just happening in a classroom, the bullying is visible to hundred, thousands of people, and its very scary."
Unfortunately there's not a whole lot authorities can do about it. The site was formed in Latvia. Due to the users being anonymous, it's not easy to get an IP address. That's why parents have started several petitions pressuring Ask.Fm to take down the site.
Ask.Fm is listening. In an open letter the company said quote: We are committed to ensuring that our site is a safe environment.. We have implemented various measures over the past months to continue to improve our users' safety."