Everyone loves social media. It’s a convenient and fun way to share photos, keep in touch with friends and family and meet new acquaintances that you might not otherwise have had the opportunity to meet. These are all benefits, but like almost everything else in life, there is a negative aspect also. Social media makes cyber bulling easy and almost consequence free. Anyone can sit behind the safety of a computer screen and type anything they want about anyone else, post it and watch it circulate around the world. Those posting the negative comments are usually not concerned with the victims or how they are affected.
Most social sites make you create profiles with your name and photo attached to that account, but a new trending site in social media does not. Ask.fm is a way of asking anonymous questions to whoever has the profile. You do not have to create a profile to ask the questions… cue cyber bullying. In Leicestershire, England, 14 year old Hanna Smith, created an account with the site in efforts to see what kinds of questions she would get. What she got was enough anonymous hateful and harassing messages to make her take her own life.
According to CNN, Smith went to the site seeking advice for her eczema skin condition. The harassment started and didn’t stop until she hanged herself. It’s unclear why the family is being targeted, but Smith’s sister is reportedly now being bullied online. “I’ve just lost my sister and now I’ve got to deal with getting abuse myself,” she told the Daily Mirror newspaper. I’m struggling to cope with what’s happened and don’t need these trolls hounding me.” It’s sad that she can’t mourn the death and celebrate the life of her sister without having to endure the very thing that ultimately led to her sister’s suicide.
Representatives from Ask.fm issued this statement, “We would like to convey our deepest condolences to her family and friends. We have reached out to the Leicestershire police and would be happy to cooperate with their investigation in to the true circumstances of her suicide.”