Warning over cyber bullies

PUBLISHED: 13:00 21 November 2012


A PORTISHEAD mum is warning parents to beware of an unregulated website, popular with teenagers, where cyber bullying is rife.

The distraught mum, who did not want to be named, says she was horrified to discover that her daughter, a Gordano School pupil, has received messages, via question platform site Ask FM, threatening to sexually abuse, maim and kill her.

She said: “What I have seen is absolutely awful and there appears to be no way to report abuse on this site.”

The mum says that, despite numerous emails from her and members of the UK police, the website operators refuse to confirm if they have a policy in place to deal with abuse or bullying.

She also feels that reputable companies advertising on the site can mislead young people into thinking the website is okay.

Portishead PCSO Dawn Tremlett, who is based at Gordano, said: “Question platform sites seem to be becoming more and more popular with young people.

“Many of these sites have very few privacy controls and there are obvious risks to its users which parents need to be aware of. Anonymous posting empowers bullies because it takes away the risk of being caught. It can also lead to a loss of inhibition which will result in people saying things they would not normally say in the real world.”

Ask FM, which is registered in Latvia, recently came under fire after two teenage girls in Ireland took their own lives. It was claimed that both girls had experienced cyber bullying on the controversial site in the months before their deaths.

PCSO Tremlett added: “Cyber bullying can cause emotional damage and it is important that young people act responsibly when on the internet. If insulted or threatened they should remain calm and make sure they inform an adult.”

A number of Portishead parents are now contacting the advertisers on Ask FM in a bid to cut the revenue that helps fund the site.

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