Now that you know a little bit about what Ask.fm is and how it works, the most important thing you need to consider before deciding to use it is whether or not it is safe to use. It is also helpful to consider what you need to do to protect yourself from the potential dangers of this social media website. Exactly how safe is it to use Ask.fm?
Ask.fm is as safe as other social media websites, and has approximately the same risks, which are typically identity fraud and cyber bullying. Because of its anonymity feature however, Ask.fm can be even more dangerous than other social media websites that make the identities of its users more obvious.
6 safety tips for Ask.fm users and parents
1. Use caution when selecting “ask anonymously”
Ask.fm allows its users to pose questions to other users anonymously. Though this can be a fun way to interact, it poses many possible dangers. The website requires users to enter very little personal information about themselves, so it is very possible that you will interact with total strangers on this website. Often, you have no idea who you are interacting with, or who is interested in this information.
In addition, when people use the Internet anonymously, they sometimes act in a way they normally wouldn’t because the anonymity of the Internet protects them from reprisal. Some will act more openly or less shy than they would in person, and others will sometimes act violently or inappropriately due to a lack of consequences.
2. Don’t follow users you don’t know
Try to use Ask.fm’s social functions to find your friends based on the ones you have from other social media websites, where it is easier to know who you are interacting with. Avoid following strangers, because this is most likely where you will run into trouble with dangerous or inappropriate users, or people looking to take advantage of the anonymity of the website.
3. Report suspicious, dangerous, or inappropriate behavior
If another user is continuously pestering you, you can always block them on the website. Simply visit their profile, and click the Block icon in the bottom-right corner of their profile cover photo.
If you feel more drastic measures need to be taken, you can report the user by clicking the Flag symbol in the bottom-left corner of their profile cover photo. You can then select a reason for why you are reporting them to send a report.
Reporting a user is likely to result in consequences, including Ask.fm permanently disabling their account. If a user is asking for your personal information, that is cause to report them. If they ask any inappropriate questions, or answer questions inappropriately, this would also be a good reason to report them.
4. Never reveal personal information on the website
Because Ask.fm is based on the asking and answering of questions, it may not seem strange that a user asks you a personal question anonymously. However, if a user asks for information such as credit card numbers, social security numbers, addresses, telephone numbers, or similar information, ensure you do not give this information out. Ask.fm would never ask you for information like this, so be sure you do not give this to a user who may appear to work for Ask.fm.
5. Monitor your child’s use of the website
If your child is an Ask.fm user, it may be a good idea to monitor how their experience is going. Consider starting a profile of your own and becoming an active follower of their profile. Though it’s not helpful to anonymously interact with your child or try to trick them in any way, following them on Ask.fm would allow you to recognize if your child is being taken advantage of by another user.
6. Make yourself aware of the signs of cyber bullying – and learn to recognize them
Because of the anonymity of Ask.fm, it is very easy for a user to become a victim of cyber bullying. Hurtful comments or hate speech can easily be published on this website, so it is important to report any user who does so, and take some other precautions.
Some suggestions to prevent cyber bullying include:
- Do not answer questions that make you feel uncomfortable.
- Try not to engage in ongoing negative conversations or instigate online fights.
- Report any user who acts in a way that makes you uncomfortable.
- Never use the anonymity of the Internet to say something that you would feel uncomfortable saying in person.
- Tell someone such as a parent, teacher, or a close friend that someone is bothering you right away – don’t let the situation escalate to a point where you are being continuously hurt by users on a website.
- Think carefully about the words you post on the Internet, and think twice about how you might feel if the comment you wrote was directed at you.
Now that you know all about using Ask.fm safely, you may want to consider signing up for an ccount. Consider reading our next tutorial first where we review the pros and cons of Ask.fm.
If you’re interested in learning more about Internet safety, we have many courses here at Techboomers to help inform you. Consider checking out our Internet safety course, our Internet privacy course, or our course on computer and Internet passwords.