What will it take to end cyberbullying suicides?

(Image: Shutterstock)

Most recently a 14-year-old girl has hanged herself after an alleged onslaught of bullying on the social networking site Ask.fm. Many parents are now speaking out about the onslaught that so many teenagers around the world have to face when interacting on these social websites.

Hannah Smith, was continuously being taunted on Ask.fm and ‘trolled to death’ by cyberbullies on a daily basis, abusing her over her weight, the death of an uncle and an apparent propensity to self-harm, until less than a fortnight ago she finally begged trollers to stop the abuse against her. The website has now been linked to at least four teenage deaths in the past year.

Kids are to blame

According to Daily mail, Ask.fm released a statement describing the latest death as a “true tragedy” and said it would co-operate with the Police investigation. But in May, Mark Terebin, 28, claimed that in 90 per cent of cyberbullying cases, teenagers actually posted the nasty comments themselves as a means to get attention. In a statement given to an Irish broadcaster, following the suicide of 13-year-old Erin Gallagher, last October, he appeared to suggest that British children were to blame for the recent tragedies.

Daily mail also reported that in a recent statement Ask.fm actively encourages users and their parents to report any incidences of bullying, either by using the in-site reporting button, or via their contact page.  However there are also claims that the website with a user base of 65 million only has about 50 people actually moderating the comments posted on the site.

Parents call for a ban

Hannah’s parents are now actively calling for a ban on the website that took her life and the lives of so many other teens. The website openly allows its 65 million users to post questions and comments to each other, anonymously if they want, and has been described by child- safety experts as a “stalker’s paradise”.

What measures should be taken to prevent cyberbullying?

Please note the views expressed in this article are not necessarily the views of Parent24.
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