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  1. ITV Report

New Ask.fm guidelines welcomed by Hannah Smith's father

Hannah Smith, 14, took her own life after receiving abusive messages online. Photo:

The father of Hannah Smith, who committed suicide after being bullied on the Ask.fm website, has described the site's new cybersafety measures as "a good thing". But child protection charities said more needs to be done to stop online bullying.

ITV News Correspondent Rupert Evelyn reports:

Ask.fm have announced a series of measures:

  • Creating a new website for parents of its users to help them understand the site's functions and moderation policy
  • To make a more prominent button for users to report abuse
  • To increase the moderation team and appoint a safety officer
  • Adding a button so users can opt-out of receiving messages from anonymous users
  • Encouraging those signing up to register to increase accountability and to trace abusers

David Smith, whose 14-year-old daughter Hannah was found dead in her bedroom earlier this month, described Ask.fm's new measures as "a good thing".

But he said that in making changes, the site had "admitted that their website was dangerous for teenagers."

While welcoming the moves NSPCC safer technology expert Claire Lilley said they were not enough:

However, these changes alone are not going to solve the problem of online bullying. And, while they are being implemented, children and young people are likely to continue to suffer.

Parents can help by having regular conversations with their children about what is and isn't OK online, and encourage them to seek help if they are being bullied, blackmailed or see anything that upsets them.

It's important that young people know that if they need somebody to talk to, they can call ChildLine on 0800 1111.

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