THE BLOG
10/23/2013 10:21 am ET | Updated Jan 23, 2014

The Problem With Ask.fm

Social media is a big part of most peoples lives. I have Facebook, Instagram, Vine, Snapchat and Tumblr. That may seem like a lot to some people and nothing to others. The thing about these social media platforms is that you can control what happens on your account to a certain extent. You determine who you follow, who you "friend" and what you post. Something that has been popping up more and more is Ask.fm.

If you haven't heard of this increasingly popular site, it's a place where you make a public account and people can submit questions and comments to you anonymously or not. When I first heard about this I was interested. I didn't get an account, but I looked at a few. I was horrified. People were saying things that were so hurtful, and most of these hurtful comments were coming from anonymous users. The person that was taking all of these hateful comments didn't delete them, they answered back for everyone to see. I've seen people get asked why they are "fat" or "slutty" or "mean" or "who they hate" or to "list their best friends in order." People have asked my friends "why they are such losers" or "to say what they thought of specific people" or even things like "why are you alive?" The person receiving the comments had no idea who was posting them -- it could have been one of their best friends, or someone they barely knew. Since the questions were anonymous people said meaner things than they ever would have. I thought since I didn't set up an account it wouldn't affect me.

A few times I've had a friend ask me if I'd seen a post about me on someone else's page. I don't check Ask.fm, so they would tell me what the person said, and I wouldn't say anything about it, but inside I would wonder why they said what they said. A girl who I've never been super close with got asked who she hated the most at our camp. She mentioned that the only person she hated was me. The post even got "likes" from other people who I thought I was friends with. A girl I'm close to told me about it and said many people had seen it. I have a very close friend and she had an account which she later disabled. She told me about a friend that got so upset over what people were saying about her that she tried to take her own life. After she was released from the hospital people were even meaner to her. I found it unbelievable that people were that heartless.

I wondered why anyone would get an Ask.fm in the first place. A reason could be that you were feeling insecure and wanted to know what other people thought of you. Maybe you didn't want to be left out of the new thing everyone was talking about. Sometimes I felt that I should get one, but then I realized it was just an easier way for bullies to get to people.

This year a 12-year-old girl, Rebecca Ann Sedwick, killed herself because of hateful comments she was receiving online. Her family was aware of these issues and tried hard to help her stay strong. She was home-schooled and switched to a new school, but still kept getting bullied. All of the hate that was coming her way wasn't just from Ask.fm, it was from many different sites. After she died someone who had bullied her had the nerve to say they were glad she was gone. I don't understand how someone could be so terrible to a person, see that the person died because of it, and still feel right about bullying the person. This girl was only 12 years-old. She had so much ahead of her. Her family is left picking up the pieces of their lives, and having to deal with this tremendous loss. She is only one of the many kids that has gotten bullied to this extent.

Bullying is a problem that needs to be solved. How can we stop this? We can't is the answer. We can't get rid of the social media -- it's everywhere. If kids are punished it won't always stop them. People need to start saying something when they see bullying happening to prevent things like what happened to Rebecca Sedwick. More and more are people joining the cause against bullying. Some people might not think it's a big deal saying things like "kill yourself," but it really is. I haven't experienced anything near to what other kids have, and I want to help these kids. Little everyday things that we do can help people smile and have just a little more confidence. Trust me when I say that I've said things I thought were unimportant like complimenting someone's clothes or helping them pick up something they dropped, and even though the small act seemed like nothing to me, the other person felt a lot better about themselves.