Police link teen bullying to social networking site Ask.fm

Police link teen bullying to social networking site Ask.fm

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Just weeks ago, a 12-year-old Florida girl took her own life after police say she was tormented and bullied through a social network website called Ask.fm - which allows questions and answers from friends and complete strangers.

Police say this format fuels sextortion and more than half a dozen Chicago-area cases involving Ask.fm are currently being investigated. Yet, many parents are clueless about this new type of social media.

Ask.fm, based out of Latvia, has registered 70 million users this summer, but its cause for concern.

"If you see those applications on your kids' cell phones, take them off, there's no reason why they need to have them, at all," says Naperville Police Detective Richard Wistocki, who investigates internet crimes. "It's so important for parents to understand what goes on there and I give screen shots of conversations I've had, posing undercover to these sextortionists on kick and on ask.fm and parents just don't get it until I show it to them live."

He says on Ask.fm, teenage users are often enticed to share explicit photos - then blackmailed and bullied - often by other teens.

Times have changed, says 29-year-old Amanda Presperin.

"I think kids are up against something that we never had to deal with when we were younger," Presperin says.

"A lot of kids are dying because they're committing suicide because of these social media outlets and it's something everybody needs to be aware of," mother Jacqueline Smith adds.

Police are focused on prevention opposed to prosecution. Naperville detectives are investigating eight cases so far.

Detective Wistocki told FOX 32 that if you feel like you are being bullied into doing something you are not comfortable with, just go to the police.

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