Ask.FM is a website and application that allows users to both ask and answer questions anonymously to a wide user-base. Users can post a question for the general user-base to answer anonymously, or individual users are able to directly ask other users questions, in which those asking the questions can still remain anonymous.
WHAT ARE THE RISKS:
Ask.FM allows anonymous questions to be asked directly, and there is no limit to the subject matter of the questions. Questions can be as prying, inappropriate or personal as the user wishes. Ask.FM discourages users under 13 years old, but as there’s not a hard measure which verifies age and the app relies on the trust system of users selecting their ages – therefore anyone of any age can gain access.
Parents are concerned about the idea of kids asking and answering questions anonymously, providing with them a false sense of security. In addition, because an answer provided online can seem more authoritative than one given in person, children could rely on answers being truthful or factual. The potential for misleading children or even putting them in harm’s way is limitless. With the limited ability that children possess to detect threats in grooming, and even simply evaluating if a question is too deep or inappropriate, it raises alarm bells.