Archives for posts with tag: children

ASK.FM is a Latvia-based social networking site, which was launched in 2010, and has grown in popularity with an astounding figure of 80 million registered users worldwide (2013), half of whom are under the age of 18. This site allows users to ask other users questions, with the option of anonymity. Thus permits anyone to ask personal questions, delving into the privacy of other people’s lives. With this in mind, it is fair to ask whether having such a website in place is ethically correct?

Age is an important factor to consider when it comes to social networking sites, especially with ASK.FM. Facebook for example has an age restriction in place meaning that those under the age of 18 are not allowed to use their site. However ASK.FM’s Terms of Service state that, “Physical persons must be 13 years or older to use this service,” making it more vulnerable to children and adolescents, putting them at risk immediately.

Furthermore, ASK.FM has received an abundance of press attention regarding abusive, bullying and sexualised content. Consequently, the website has been linked to cases in which teenagers have committed suicide for reasons as stated above. Reports show that in just over one year, there were 12 teenage suicides linking to the website, and with messages such as “drink bleach”, “go get cancer” and “go die,” these suicides do not come as a surprise. Comments like these are totally anonymous, making it impossible for the victim to identify their abuser, and therefore difficult to report. The victim is able to block their abuser, yet the abuser is still able to access the user’s profile, enabling them to view all interactions taking place. Online bullies like these are still out there, and remain a danger to anyone using ASK.FM.

Izzy Dix, aged 14 took her life as an outcome of online bullying that took place on ASK.FM. Since her death, Gabbi Dix has created a petition in hope to put an end to cyber bullying, in memory of her late daughter. The petition reached over 12,500 signatures (09 December 2013) and includes a list of other young people who committed suicide for the same reason, and are all aged between the age of 14 and 17. Reports show that as a result of this, the Prime Minister has set out a series of measures that ensure the safety of young people online.

In addition ASK.FM has recently undergone some changes allowing users to opt out of receiving anonymous comments, and now requires an email address from registered users. However, numerous teens have taken their lives as a result of being bullied on this site, so why has ASK.FM only just made these changes? How many more deaths will it take to make them realise that their website is immoral and wrong?

After reading this blog, you may have hundreds of thoughts running through your head. You may wonder whether the users of websites such as ASK.FM are at fault, and are responsible for the comments they receive. However, with some users as young 13, their vulnerability may make them oblivious to such harm. What can be done to put an end to these ambiguous bullies, and bullying as a whole? Do we need more parents like Gabbi Dix to make bullies realise the implications of their actions? Or do parents need to step in and monitor their children’s activity online from the start? Please share your views on this matter. Any contributions would be appreciated.

Thank you.

A

This video shows the effects that bullying has on a person and their emotional state! Videos posted online about this cause are a great way to bring awareness to it!

It’s a problem that is continuing to occur, especially with social media becoming more and more popular with young people as a way to connect with many others on the internet. Unfortunately, recent reports and studies have shown that cyber bullying is on the rise, which is the opposite of what needs to happen. Childline, the UK’s leading children’s helpline charity, has seen a huge increase in the number of children contacting them about concerns of online bullying. It saw 4,507 cases of cyberbullying in 2012-13, up from 2,410 in 2011-12. But what can be done to stop this? One of the biggest and most difficult questions to ask when looking into cyber bullying is whether the responsibility is on the social network for the safety of the users of the site, or whether the responsibility is on the decisions and actions a child makes by using a social networking site. 

Peter Wanless, chief executive of the NSPCC charity, which runs ChildLine, said: “The issues facing children today are very different from those that faced us as children”. This statement really highlights the fact that in this new social media age, children face many more vulnerabilities by being so exposed on the web, in contrast to the adult generation who didn’t have the technology which would have allowed for this to happen. 

With the problem of cyber bullying continuing to happen, affecting many children and teenagers not only nationally, but internationally, is it fair to say something really does need to change?

E

Hello,

Welcome to our brand new anti cyber bullying blog. We’re three UK students in our third year of University, who are dedicated and passionate about the issue of cyber bulling. The aim of this blog is to get people talking about this issue; any comments, opinions, or personal experiences are encouraged and appreciated. Although this blog isn’t going to stop bullying or trolling on the internet, we hope it’s a step in the right direction, and a place where people can come to share their thoughts on the topic.

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Thanks, E, A and R