It has come to our attention that a number of our students are still using the social (perhaps more accurately, anti-social) website / iOS and Android app called ask.fm. Some conversations coming to our attention have been extremely disappointing and negative in nature. Ask.fm is a Latvia based platform that allows it users to be completely anonymous, and as a consequence, completely unaccountable for their actions.
We are asking you to have a conversation with your child to see if they have an ask.fm account. If they do, we recommend that you review their activity on their phone apps and/or laptop.
DC’s position is that the anonymity factor encourages young people to use it in ways that are neither positive nor constructive. As such we believe ask.fm is unsuitable for our students and community, and we highly recommend accounts are deactivated and apps deleted.
What parents need to know about ask.fm
1. No-one monitors the content on ask.fm
2. The website “is increasingly being used as a means to communicate abusive, bullying and sexualized content,” according to webwise
3. A blocked person can still access the profile to view all other interactions
4. The site can be used anonymously, so users often have no way of knowing who is bullying or harassing them on the site
5. Privacy settings are limited
6. Schools in Britain have advised students and parents to not use ask.fm following the suicide of a 14 year-old girl in Britain who had been bullied on ask.fm
7. British PM, David Cameron, has personally labelled the platform as ‘vile’.
If you do not already know, please also ask you child what other social media platforms they are using (Whatsapp, Skype, etc) and review their conversations on these platforms to see that all is well. Although not anonymous, there is still the potential that things can go wrong.
Note that DC tells our students, “If you would not show your parents or teachers, it is not suitable to post.” We will continue carrying out random audits of computers and mobile devices brought into the school.