Vital Questions about Ask.fm: A Viral App That Offers Users Anonymity Poses Potential Dangers for Kids

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Exclusive Interview: On the Marc Media's Marc Silverstein shares his thoughts with McAfee Online Internet Security expert Robert Siciliano about the potential dangers of Ask.fm.

There’s no accountability with anonymity.

Parents need to ask their children if they’re using Ask.fm on their smartphones or online. If they are, they need to keep a close eye on what their kids are saying in cyberspace and, even more importantly, what others are saying to and about them.

In very little time, the social networking app and its online website have gone viral among teens and tweens, with more than 60 million downloads of the app alone. The reason: Ask.fm lets users post comments and ask questions anonymously. That cloak of secrecy may be innocent enough if one middle schooler asks another who they like at school. But multiple news reports say the anonymity has also led to intense cyberbullying and even reports of a rash of teen suicides. On September 13th, The New York Times reported that a young girl's suicide could have been the result of cyber bullying on Ask.fm.

In this video interview, On The Marc Media's Marc Silverstein talks to McAfee Online Internet Security expert Robert Siciliano. Siciliano explains why the Ask.fm website and its accompanying free app are controversial and potentially dangerous. Unlike Facebook and Twitter, there’s no way to report bullying, increase privacy or find out who is behind threatening comments when they’re posted anonymously. As Siciliano points out, “there’s no accountability with anonymity.” To confound the problem, Ask.fm is based in Latvia and out of the reach of American authorities.

Siciliano’s advice: parents need to monitor every aspect of their children’s online activity—and learn how to use every app and device their kids have access to. For those parents worried about infringing on their children’s privacy, he has a blunt reply: “Trust is overrated.”

About On The Marc Media
On The Marc Media is a multimedia communications company specializing in public relations, social media and video production. We integrate cutting-edge technology to promote and communicate focused messages for businesses, non-profits organizations and individuals. On The Marc Media knows the media because we’ve been on all sides of the camera. The firm was created and is led by former Food Network and Discovery Channel host Marc Silverstein, who prior to his work in cable television was an Emmy Award winning television news reporter. Managed and staffed by media pros, On The Marc Media offers unparalleled public relations and marketing expertise. For more information visit http://onthemarcmedia.com.

To learn more, contact Marc Silverstein at (202) 716-9123 or by email at marc(at)onthemarcmedia(dot)com.

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Marc Silverstein
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