Social networking site Ask.fm linked to 9 teen suicides - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Social networking site Ask.fm linked to 9 teen suicides

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WASHINGTON -

You may not have heard of a social media site called Ask.fm, but your kids probably have. And it's deadly. Ask.fm is now linked to nine teen suicides in the last year.

The social networking site allows users to post anonymous comments online. Kids as young as 13 years old are allowed on the site, everyone can see all the posts, and no one monitors the content.

"Anyone can say what they want, so people aren't going to be nice most of the time," Max Raykov says.

Robert Siciliano, a McAfee cyber security expert says Ask.fm is the new favorite sparring site for cyberbullies who want to tear people down without showing their face.

"There's no accountability with anonymity and the overall drama that takes place in social media exemplifies teen angst," Siciliano says.

The website BuzzFeed says Ask.fm has been linked to nine teen suicides in the last year.

People like 14-year-old Hannah Smith was found hanged by her sister in August after anonymous bullies on Ask.fm wrote things like: "every1 will be happy if you died. drink bleach. Go die."

"Teen suicides happen every day unfortunately, but the fact that a certain amount of teens were found with this on their phones or devices and their parents are equating to that definitely raises eyebrows," says Siciliano.

"Some of my friends have it and people do post mean things like you have no friends and stuff," 12-year-old Savannah says.

"I don't think it's okay for people to bully people on there," says Sophia Shaw. "You don't know what they're going through in life or how they will react to the situation."

Although Ask.fm has been referenced in so many teen deaths, Siciliano says the site doesn't deserve all the blame. He says parents have some responsibility too -- to know what their kids are doing online.

"Learn the technology, learn the apps, know how their online lives work," he says.

And one final thing that makes Ask.fm so dangerous is it originates in Latvia, so U.S. laws don't apply.

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