Family Lives response to ‘Schoolgirl, 14, 'hangs herself' after being bullied relentlessly by online trolls on Ask.fm'

“It is with intense sadness that yet another young person has taken their life as a perceived result of online abuse and our immediate thoughts are with Hannah’s friends and family.  Since early 2012, parents and professionals have contacted Family Lives & BullyingUK to express their concern about new website, Ask.fm which lets any viewer see the names, photographs and personal details of children as young as 13, then post comments or questions on their profile pages that range from insults to perverted sexual advances and threats of violence.  This is deeply worrying.  That a website enables young and impressionable children and adults to anonymously post damaging and derogatory comments towards young children and adults and needs to be addressed.  Some children are being relentlessly bullied with no respite as online social media channels permeate the home and the school environment.

Parents have always worried about their children’s use of existing and emerging technologies.  Family Lives encourages parents to have conversations with their children as the consequences of accessing inappropriate & violent sites can be extremely damaging and can distort perceptions about real life and relationships.  We advise keeping PCs, Laptops and Tablets in a room used by all the family.  Parents must monitor how much time their child/ren spend online and encourage them to openly talk about what they’re looking at.  Young people are more likely to seek help and advice from parents who listen and are supportive, rather than those who lecture or fly off the handle.  The more help and information that parents and carers have to understand these issues and talk to their kids about risky behaviours, the safer their kids will be. Free advice is available through the Family Lives 24/7 Helpline on 0808 800 222 and at www.familylives.org.uk.”

Jeremy Todd, Family Lives Chief Executive

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