Tuesday, February 11 2014 11:09 PM EST2014-02-12 04:09:33 GMT
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(Toledo News Now) -
There's Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram -- just to name a few social media websites that are really popular right now. Most parents have familiarized themselves with these, but there's a fairly new social media website that some have never heard of. It's called Ask.Fm.
Ask.Fm was created back in 2010 by a group of entrepreneurs as competition to the internet based website Formspring in which users ask each other questions.
Ask.Fm has been pretty lucky in the social media world. 80 million people are registered users, and the company says they post at least 30 million questions and answers per day.
We talked to a local mom of one of the many teenage users of the site. Mom Kristen originally let her daughter download the Ask.Fm's app from a list of apps approved for those under the age of 13. Rodzos says her daughter had the account for about 7 months, but in October she saw a message alert and decided to check it.
Rodzos says she found several messages most positive between her daughter and friends, but some were explicit in nature against her daughter.
"I started to see why are they defending her, so I went a little further down the page and notices the negative things that were said," Rodzos said.
Rodzos believes her daughter was a victim of cyberbullying before she found these messages.
"You just assume that everything must be fine, and obviously it wasn't." Rodzos said.
Ask.Fm is different than Facebook and Twitter because users can ask you questions without you knowing their identity.
The questions people can ask can range from sometimes sexual advances, threats of violence and insults like those Rodzos saw against her daughter.
Plus, users could be revealing information like their name, birthdate, and even address.
However a person must be at least 13 years of age to join the Ask.Fm community.
As soon as Rodzos saw what was going on her daughters page, she alerted the Perrysburg School District. Perrysburg Superintendent Thomas Hosler says school officials made the decision to add Ask.Fm to the list of blocked websites on school computers as well as the ones they take home.
"When you're given an opportunity to be nameless and faceless, it just breeds that bullying kind of behavior," Rodzos said.
The founders of Ask-Fm did issue a statement through concerning another bullying case just last year in which they stated Irish and U-K kids are crueler than other countries.
The company has changed some its policies by creating a report button in the event of bullying or harassment. Plus, the company plans to increase the visibility of an option to opt out of receiving anonymous questions.
Rodzos no longer allows her daughter to use the website. She hopes exposing the negative things that go on with the website will make parents a little more cautious.
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