Ask.fm is a global social network where you can ask anyone your burning questions, anonymously or publicly. You can think of it as an offshoot of Google +.
It all got started when some high school students, tired of the constant bullying that they had to endure at school, decided to create their own forums so that the students could discuss issues related to depression and suicide.
Their idea grew and eventually became what Ask.fm is today: A platform for interaction on which people from around the world can have conversations about things that matter most to them.
- Part 1. Is Askfm Safe for Kids?
- Part 2. How to Use Askfm?
- Part 3. What Are the Risks of Askfm?
- Part 4. What Parents Should Do to Protect Kids
- Part 5. FAQs about Askfm
- Part 6. Final Thoughts
Is Ask.fm Safe for Kids?
One of the main concerns with Ask.fm is its massive amount of anonymously posted content and the absence of any type of moderation by Ask.fm in general.
The site has been known to be used for cyberbullying, immoral sexual content, and more recently dating violence all in a very easy for everyone. That’s why this site may not be safe for kids.
The only reason this is happening is because it was so easy to integrate with Facebook and Twitter so users can spread Ask.fm images, picture uploads, and everything else that really shouldn't be happening on Ask.fm in such high numbers as they currently are.
Ask.fm was not initially meant to be used for bullying purposes but recent cyberbullying cases have been associated with the website.
As per research conducted by an organization called Ditch the Label, more than 60% of young users who were using ask.fm confirmed that they had been bullied once a month or even more frequently on this website.
How to Use Ask.fm?
After Ask.fm log in, users have the option to fill out more personal information and include their photos. Ensure that your child doesn't put any personal information in their profile though.
Once a link has been shared on the internet, it's public and anyone can ask questions or say comments without having their identity known.
Users may also search for people they already know and enter names or email addresses to locate friends they wish to connect with as well as send them anonymous messages.
Additionally, users can follow other user accounts from their page and choose to send them a message. These messages show up in an inbox column that is specific only to that user so everyone knows who’s being contacted.
Messages are also anonymous unless it’s an individual conversation with both users checked off as "Friends" on the site.
In these cases, the identity of each user is preserved even if they check themselves off as ‘Anonyms’. Users are limited to communicating through questions and answers which are made visible in a daily stream or randomly assigned to individual users.
What Are the Risks of Ask.fm?
Here are some dangers associated with ask.fm platform.
Ask.fm isn't a safe space for many youngsters and has become ground zero to cyber bullying of teens. The social network has already been linked to six reported teen suicides.
Those suicides are behind multiple online petitions with thousands of signatures, each calling for Ask.fm's demise from the Web due to its unsafe environment and exacerbation of bullying among teens.
2. Exposure to sexuality
Ask.fm's anonymity feature also brings a problem of unwanted sexual messages and photos to the table because any user can ask any other user a question.
There are higher chances of their encounter with ones from anonymous Ask.fm users who may turn out being much older than they are. That would require keeping an active watch on their activity with the help of certain monitoring tools.
3. Gateway to Private Conversations
Profiles on Ask.fm are public. Anyone with an Internet connection can come along and see someone's questions and answers if they've shared it in a previous response. The conversations that start on Ask.fm don't necessarily stay on Ask.fm.
Some of them may go to secondary messaging applications or even turn into real-life interactions. In my experience, I've found people asking for users' cell phone numbers.
What Parents Should Do to Protect Kids?
Now that you know a little bit about what Ask.fm is, it's time to consider whether or not it's safe for you to use. Due to the potential dangers of using this social media website, here are some ways to protect your kids.
1. Use parental control app – KidsGuard Pro for Android
Using the KidsGuard Pro app you can monitor any device of your children with the help of third-party control software that is particularly easy to use and convenient.
Moreover, it doesn't require rooting, which means you can bypass all restrictions imposed by such systems as Android.
And so, having analyzed a chat history, conversation, and even images shared by your child without his/her knowledge you are granted full access to everything that happens in devices installed from Android applications.
KidsGuard Pro for Android Features
- Track cell phone location in real time and view location history
- Check all incoming and outgoing calls & SMS
- Spy on social media apps like WhatsApp, Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, Viber, WeChat and more
- Remotely access the files on the target phone, like contacts, photos, call logs, etc.
2. Pre-talk with your kids
Ask your kids to not share any personal information on this site. Asking and answering questions anonymously is what makes Ask.fm tick, but If a user asks for sensitive information such as credit card numbers, social security numbers, addresses, telephone numbers, or similar personal information, it could be a phishing attack where someone tries to get sensitive information.
Ensure that your kids you do not respond with any of this type of information if it is requested from an anonymous user online.
3. Don’t follow users their don’t know
Try to use Ask.fm’s social functions to find friends based on the ones user have from other social media websites, where it is easier to know who you are interacting with.
Ask your kids to avoid following strangers, because this is most likely where they will run into trouble with dangerous or inappropriate users, or people looking to take advantage of the anonymity of the website.
4. Monitor your child
If your child is an Ask.fm user, it may be a good idea to monitor their experience and use of the site. Consider starting an Ask.fm profile of your own. This way you would recognize if they are being taken advantage of by another user by simply following them around on the site and anonymously interacting with them as needed, only when necessary of course!
Q1. Is Ask.fm a dating site?
Ask.fm is a social networking site where you can make new friends and find out interesting little-known facts about other users. It isn’t designed specifically to be a dating service.
Q2. What age is Ask.fm for?
Ask.fm allows users to sign up at any point in their lives. One of its terms of service asks all users must be aged 13 or over. Although you can put your date of birth into your profile that does not show up on the site.
Q3. Is Ask.fm free?
Yes! Ask.fm is a free app that gives users the option to post comments or questions anonymously. You can sign up for an account here or alternatively, you can log in with Facebook or Twitter instead.
Q4. What do parents need to know about Ask.fm?
With the anonymous nature and no monitoring on Ask.fm it opens the door for cyberbullying, sexual contents, and abuse.
Due to this, parents should be keeping an eye out on their children and to prevent any dangers because with Ask.fm there's no way they can track down who is leading these conversations with their children.
Every social media platform has some pros and cons to it. Asking questions and receiving answers on Ask.fm can lead your kids to get bullied and deal with other potentially dangerous issues if left unchecked.
Parents must stay alert when their children are using the internet by browsing social media sites and inform them of the dangers that lurk around every corner, no matter what their intentions might be otherwise.
One alternative option for remote monitoring is KidsGuard Pro which lets you track all popular social media applications including Ask.fm and thus helps you to protect your teenagers from social media evil.