We have been asked to block access to the site by several of our High Schools.
We have been asked to block access to the site by several of our High Schools.
It's blocked by default here by our LA thankfully - it's a nasty, spiteful website. I'm all up for free speech and the freedom of the Internet but there's some horrible hate-crime and bullying stuff on that site.
Sorry, can't possibly sign it because I would then be obliged to do the same for 95% of the entire Internet - it's a naive thing to ask of anyone.
Marci (2nd May 2013)
I agree with @Sdrawkcab. You can't stop bullying. Kids will simply move to a different website and you will be back to square one.
This site just crossed my desk.
The only defence a school can easily give the kids (given how easily kids can get at it), is cultivating an ethos of celebrating diversity with a zero tolerance on unacceptable behavoiur. Do as you'd be done by. The message needs to be baked into the culture of the school and from their the community. Alter the kids attitudes - make them think: why would I want to hang out in this nasty place?
For the record, at a previous establishment I ALLOWED Facebook and MySpace to remove pressure that would otherwise build and drive them onto services that were less reputable. It worked well and FB and MySpace responded well on the rare occasions we needed to contact them.
So, digging up an old thread (sorry, haven't seen another one here), any further thoughts on this with recent happenings?
In a nutshell, 15 year old girl committed suicide because of hateful comments she received on ask.fm. And, apparently sent 98% of them to herself.
This to me makes it clear that there's only so much we can do to filter such websites. I personally believe that everyone that's been jumping on ask.fm is probably doing so out of a kneejerk reaction, a daily mailesque need to point a finger at something. OK, I can't condone that sort of website, it's not particularly a nice place but is that because of it's intent? No, I can't believe for one minute (naive of me?) that someone set something up to be used for hate-messaging. It's the people using it. Keeping half an eye on twitter, the majority of it's use is benign. "Who are the hottest boys in Year 10? at school?" is the most typical sort of topic I see. But, like facebook, twitter, any forum or anywhere you can type and save a comment (hell, pastebin would be just as bad) you can only make reasonable efforts to filter or prevent abuse. No different to at home, you can install netnanny or a filter of your choice, but a 15 year old will probably easily find their way around it. Is their smartphone filtered? Probably not. Have a lot of parents even thought about that? I'd guess no.
It would appear clear to me that people should probably be spending more time with the individuals they may have concern about, rather than ignoring them and concentrating on the technology they're using to do whatever it is they are doing. It's absolutely tragic about the poor girl in question; if what's being said now is true, then she clearly had problems other than what we know about online. Noone in any article I've read has mentioned the possibility that she's just a human being that's hit a rough patch, or a human being that's been hiding any problems from everyone for a long time and it's finally bubbled over. Of course, as internet armchair experts, we don't even know if there is history before this incident, but it doesn't seem to stop many people commenting never-the-less.
There's a lot we can do to help within the school as IT staff. We can certainly, to the best of our ability filter out as many sites that could act as a catalyst for this sort of thing, we can do our level best to report incidents and concerns to the relevant people but I'm starting to believe that the IT side of things should be stepped back and the actual children listened to. I have a huge amount of respect for the pastoral support staff at our school, we have some really difficult kids in really difficult situations and it's great to see that these staff do make one hell of a difference. Of course we're often asked by those staff members to keep an eye on things but that's perhaps the way it should be - people shouldn't be jumping on the technology or software as the first place to point a finger and the first thing to fix.
Slight issue with the claim that they're all from herself. If it's just the same IP, that could mean a NATed connection (such as a phone network), proxy server etc...
I'd need a little more proof than that being presented by the tabloids.
Absolutely, but as said, the public knows next to nothing about it. It'd be nice if the police were able to confirm it or otherwise. My point of course still stands.
I think a lot of cyberbullying and trolling relies on the ability to be anonymous very easily. As it's the Internet, if you want to be anonymous slightly less easily you can do it regardless, but I think a lot of what goes on with ask.fm is comparable to "opportunistic" crimes where the perpetrator only goes to the bother of committing the crime because of how easy it is (I'm sure others could provide a better summary).
Therefore I wonder whether a petition (or other effort) to ask the site to consider its policies - rather than closing down completely and thus depriving the owners of its income - might be more effective. One of the major problems with ask.fm is the ability to post anonymously. Would it be worth starting there?
The site could mandate that a user must be registered - possibly even going through an identity confirmation process (sounds like a "down the line" goal) similar to that of e.g. CouchSurfing - before being allowed to post a question? As an extension, the site could adopt practices similar to Facebook or LinkedIn, whereby one could for example view a user's questions page but not post there unless they were sufficiently "closely connected" (by whatever means). That would seem more plausible than attempting to force a website that for all intents and purposes is neutral in approach to close down over "a little local difficulty" (apologies, but we all know how this can be viewed by people who have different priorities).
The worst part of it all is that David Cameron actually takes notice of the Daily Mail's sensationalist headlines. The last thing we need is a government run by right-wing tabloids!
Last edited by Arthur; 11th August 2013 at 11:08 PM.
I believe shutting the site down will not help anything as it will only take another person to notice it has shut down and open another one. As a 17 year old, I see bullying on Ask.fm far too often, whether it has been reposted to Facebook or Twitter. I think what needs to be built on is to educate children on what to do when they receive such abuse, such as BeatBullying (formally CyberMentors, for which I am a CyberMentor) [http://www.beatbullying.org] or similar services. I know this does not solve the issue of bullying, but it can help with the consequences, and I believe this should be taught in PSHE/Citizenship lessons, as bullying is not what it used be, it is now online, and people of my age group and younger should know what to do when they are met with cyberbullying.
So maybe, as I said, changing it rather than throwing the baby out with the bathwater would be a good approach.
Having said that, I must admit I can't see any great utility to websites like ask.fm (considering everything else that's out there), but then again people said the same thing about Twitter versus Facebook, so I'm sure there's some benefit. As long as we can take steps to make it a little safer.
Absolutely. The same can be said of a large amount of the internet, and large communities actively thrive on pointless dribble (see reddit/4chan). Of course there's reasons for everything, but there's always a human involved and whatever the medium, it's the humans that need tending to, not the medium.
Last edited by Theblacksheep; 12th August 2013 at 12:00 AM.
My view and it is only my view with my life experience.
I believe schools should block access to these sites like I have done at both of my jobs. There has been incidents that have caused serious problems and I won't go in to detail. Those children were protected by the filtering setup. The parents pre filtering had complained and if those serious matters occurred before the filtering then jobs could have been lost because those students would have been doing it on site.
Training only goes so far because there are parents who do not care or think it will not happen to them. Do you allow any random stranger to walk on site ? Is that safe? There is a difference between locking children in cages protecting them and allowing to go out late alone in the worst possible areas. As for teaching the students again that only goes so far they are kids they still add their enemies on Facebook etc so they know what's being said about them. That is the same excuse from every student I have had in my office when a teacher wanted to do some checking.
At the end of the day there will be those students who try and bypass but you would have protected many more students who accepted the filtering.
Ask your self this. How would you feel if those students going through some serious harsh times went through that AT YOUR SCHOOL. I think it's far too easy to wash responsibility and leave things open. Sooner or later the press and the government will get involved when a young child has something serious happen at a school. Are you prepared if it happens to you ?
Frankly I would rather safe guard the school and the children. If adults can't use these sites properly then what hope do children have.
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