14 News Special Report: The Big Social Media Secret - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

14 News Special Report: The Big Social Media Secret

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(WFIE) -

We've all heard about the dangers of teenagers using social media. There's a new warning about a website parents probably know nothing about.

If your teenager uses a computer, smartphone, or tablet, you need to know about a very popular site that many are trying to keep a secret.

There are so many social media apps out, it's hard to keep track of them all.

There's a newer one that's very popular in Europe, that already has 80-million registered users.

It's now becoming very popular here in the U.S. Many teenagers in the Tri-State are on it, simply because their parents aren't.

It's tough finding a student not scrolling through their phone, checking out the latest updates from their friends when the afternoon bell rights at school that sends them home. But unlike just a few years ago, teens aren't logging into Facebook.

"No one uses Facebook," said Chris Rogers, a senior at Harrison High School. "Parents do now."

Studies show teens are logging off Facebook because their parents are logging on.

Teens now moved on to Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and ask.fm

Chris is pretty savvy when it comes to social media.

"I've met a bunch of people from different states," said Chris. "It's a good way to get to know people, as long as you're careful about it."

Even Chris warns it's hard to be careful on a popular site, that he says, almost everyone his age is using: ask.fm

"I don't think they know about it yet," said Chris. "They probably will eventually."

It could be the best kept secret in the world of social media. Most parents 14 News spoke with knew nothing about ask.fm

"I've never heard of it," said Chasidy Todd.

If your child is signed up for an account on ask.fm, then anyone can ask them any question - but what's really alarming, oftentimes, your child has no idea who is asking the questions.

"It's not even restricted to what questions you can ask," said Skylor Black. "People ask random questions all the time."

"People use the anonymous feature," said Chris. "They try to get into people's business about stuff they wouldn't feel comfortable sharing such as relationships or insecurities, and a lot of sexual things."

The topics of questions asked are harmless to alarming. While it could be one of their friends asking those questions, it just as easily could be a complete stranger, even a sexual predator asking your child questions with no boundaries.

"If I get an awkward question, I either just ignore it or reply with an attitude sometimes," said Chris.

But not all teens can simply ignore what pops up on their screen.

The website Buzzfeed recently posted pictures of nine teens, Buzzfeed says, committed suicide just in the last year. All because of conversations they had with someone on ask.fm

"You just have to make sure you're smart with who you're talking to," said Chris.

Online reports say part of the problem with ask.fm is, unlike some of the older sites like Facebook, there are no privacy settings.

You control who sees your page on Facebook, and officials at Facebook are known for deleting profiles that appear to be fake.

Ask.fm has none of that. It's open to all, so parents beware.

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