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Connects Against Crime

Connects Against Crime

 
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Connects Against Crime: Ask.fm Concerns

Updated: Thursday, October 3 2013, 11:56 PM CDT
CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS 2/FOX 28) -- Two families in Eastern Iowa have something in common, and it all leads back to the controversial website ask.fm.

“It's worse than Facebook, and I've seen a lot of hurtful things on Facebook,” student Jessica Kelsey said.

On the site, each user has a profile. Anyone can anonymously ask the user a question or post a comment on that profile.

Jessica and her friend Kassidy McCalmant were drawn in when one of their friends started horrible receiving messages.

“Nobody loves them, they don't deserve to be living,” Kassidy McCalmant said, recalling some of the messages.

It got so bad, these two actually got messages on their own profiles warning about their friend's death.

“Say your goodbyes while you have the chance, she's not gonna live to see tomorrow, you’re gonna be covered in her blood,” parent Shannon Kelsey recalled.

Shannon Kelsey and fellow parent Debbie McCalmant stepped in when they noticed a change in each of their daughters' demeanor. Previously unaware the site even existed, now they're looking for answers and want to see the site gone.

“What in the world does any teenage child do that warrants being told to commit suicide?” asked parent Debbie McCalmant.

It's a constant struggle for Parents and police. Officer Shannon Stokesberry says cyber bullying is punishable under harassment laws.

“There are ways that we can contact the internet service provider, the website.”

However, Stokesberry warns that could be a long process. She says the best cure is prevention. That includes not allowing them to use internet devices in private rooms, and reminding teens anonymous doesn't really mean anonymous.

“What they put out on the internet now might affect their future as far as jobs and college go,” Stokesberry said.

As for the Kelseys’ and the McCalmants’, they say the bullying against their friend has stopped. They hope this serves as a lesson to teens out there and a wake up call to parents.

“They aren't able to protect their kids if they don't know it's there,” Shannon Kelsey said.

The creator of ask.fm Mark Terebin left a note on his ask.fm page addressing critics. He says “It’s not about the site, the problem is about education, about moral values that were devaluated lately.

He goes on to say:  “Ask.fm is just a tool which helps people to communicate with each other, same as any other social network, same as phone, same as piece of paper and pen. Don't blame a tool, but try to make changes.”
Connects Against Crime: Ask.fm Concerns


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