Ask.fm is the latest post-anything website both beloved and hated by teenagers. Its anonymous question-and-answer format allows — if not encourages — abusive, bullying content. (The site was referenced in news reports of the suicide of a 12-year-old Florida girl.)
I know this because a Westport parent told me about Ask.fm, and described its use by middle school students here.
The bullying of the parent’s child (and a friend who stood up for the child) peaked this winter, with repeated references to school events. The child went to administrators, who after an investigation said that one perpetrator had been identified. An official said the bully was remorseful, and an apology would be forthcoming.
It never came.
The parent and child were uneasy. Neither knew which classmate had been behind the bullying, or which of the parent’s adult friends were helping that child hide behind the legal right of anonymity for juveniles.
“You know who punches you in the face on the playground,” the parent says. “But today’s technology allows this to be the perfect crime.”
The parent considered going to the police. Anonymity would still be honored, but in the parent’s words, “the process would be the punishment.”
After all, the parent says, “this family hasn’t had the moxie to come forward. We don’t even know if they punished their child.”
The parent does not know if going to the police is the right thing to do. Is it overkill? If so, is overkill worth getting some satisfaction of knowing something happened — even if the parents never learn what (or even who) was involved?
The parent wants to know what “06880” readers think. Should the parents of the bully have stepped up and apologized — or made their child do so? Should the police be involved? Are there other options?
Click “Comments” to weigh in. And — unlike Ask.fm — please use your real name.