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Concerns grow over teen social networking site Ask.fm

4:15 AM, Oct 9, 2013   |    comments
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BRECKSVILLE, Ohio -- Cyber bullying is nothing new, but when it comes to the websites that bullies use -- there is a new player in town.

And we found that most parents, don't even know about it.

Ask.fm is a site where teens can post questions and answers completely anonymously, and away from the spying eyes of parents.  And that, say critics, makes the site the perfect environment for bullying.

At Brecksville Broadview Heights High School Tuesday night, we spoke with parents and teen girls, who were competing in a junior varsity girls volleyball match.

"I've never heard of that," said Chris Lowe, mother of two teen daughters.

However, all of the girls knew exactly what Ask.fm is all about.

"It's a website that you can like, post comments, and tell people how you feel about them, but it's completely anonymous," chimed one teen.

And sometimes, those comments can turn into brutal verbal attacks.

"I've seen people talk on anonymous [mode], like, 'Go kill yourself, nobody likes you. Cut yourself,'" said another teen.

Outraged parents are pressuring Ask.fm to take more accountability. The site is already popular in the U.K., where news reports have linked Ask.fm with at least 4 suicides.

BBH High School Principal Joe Mueller says teachers do their best to stay on top of teen trends, but that the best defense against bullying, is creating a culture of caring.

"Get better every day. G-B-E-D," he said. "That's our mantra. You ask any student here what G-B-E-D means, and they know."

The school provides a safety hotline for students to call at anytime, to report any behavior that may be harmful to others. There are also anti-bullying and student mentoring programs that are designed to combat bullying.

"The students know what our expectations are. The parents know what our message is. We will never give up on any student, or give in," said Mueller.

Coincidentally, outside the school auditorium, where hundreds of students use the steps, there sits a remarkable sight that has been left undisturbed.

The scene is both heart breaking and heart warming.

A student's message scrawled out on the concrete in black ink reads, "I'm not worth it."

Next to it, it appears another student wrote a response on a maple leaf, held down by rocks so that it wouldn't blow away.

The response reads, "Yes you are."

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