A Word to my Friends about Ask.fm

{For my junior high and high school peeps. Do people still say peeps? I’m pretty sure they don’t. My apologies.}

Hey, friends.

I know you aren’t big blog readers, but I’ve been wanting to chat with you about something for a while now.

If you’ll indulge me, let’s chat real quick about:

You know…the thing where you love to ask each other (mostly) anonymous questions.

I know you know about it because this is all I ever see in my Instagram newsfeed.

And I totally get it.

Don’t panic. I’m not here to get you in trouble – I even have one (…even though no one has ever asked me anything…), I just want us to think about a few things. Cool?

There’s something fun and mysterious about answering questions about yourself to an unknown person. Half the fun of the app is figuring out if it’s really your crush who’s asking who your crush is.

More than that, it feels good to have people want to know about you. Everyone wants to feel important. To be in the spotlight. To be sought after. To have people show an interest in them.

(…no? Just me? You lie.)

So ask.fm is fun when you’re answering questions like…

Some questions are stupid, some are sweet. Some aren’t even questions, just general statements. It’s fun.

But…have you had your questions take a turn for the awkward?  Maybe the dramatic? Maybe the that’s-a-little-too-personal-to-ask?

Like these? (Brace yourself.)

Yea, I know you have. I see it all over your pages. In fact, I pulled these from some of your pages. (insert evil laugh)

I was asked questions like that, too, when I was your age. I mean…it was handwritten in a note, but still – it was the same awkward stuff. The issue itself not new, but it’s magnified when it’s on a public website.

So it got me thinking…why am I always hearing about some drama caused by this app in particular? Why are people way meaner, grosser, dirtier, and gossipier (or whatever the real version of that word is) on ask.fm?

My guess? Because it’s anonymous.

Because we have a tendency to say and do different things under the cover of anonymity (SAT word, right there) than we would normally. Because if the person doesn’t know who is asking, I might be more likely to ask the real questions I want to know about them…right?

Why do you wear your hair like that? Why are you dating that girl? How do you stand being _____’s friend?

I might even want to get in a few rude comments to take her down a few notches. Because, hey, we’re all thinking it, everyone is just afraid to say it to her face.

There’s a part in the book of Acts (26:17 to be exact) where Paul is telling about his meet-and-greet with God and he says that God gave him instructions:

“I’m sending you off to open the eyes of the outsiders so they can see the difference between dark and light, and choose light, see the difference between Satan and God, and choose God.”

In short, God is light. And when we show people light, we show people God. (Also, I’m sorry, Paul, for boiling down such a profound verse into 3 words. It doesn’t do it justice.)

Good story, Sarah. But how in the world does this apply to ask.fm?

Because sites/apps like ask.fm have a tendency to operate under darkness. They are anonymous. No one knows the real identity behind the question.

And darkness is a slippery slope. When we start to act and speak in the dark, Satan (the dude who loves, lives, and breathes darkness) has a way of pushing us further. He has a way of making us say and do things we probably wouldn’t say and do in the light – things we wouldn’t say to the person’s face, in front of our parents, under our real identity.

“Hey, dude. You know you want to ask her what she’s wearing. Do it. She doesn’t know its you.”

“Hey, girl. You know you want to tell her she’s not as cool as she thinks she is.”
Sound familiar?
We are much more likely to cave to our sinful desires (gossip, impurity, etc.) when there’s no chance of getting caught, aren’t we? I know I am, anyway.
Isn’t that why SnapChat is such a big deal? The pictures disappear. *poof* – gone. And that makes sending and receiving “inappropriate” pictures a little more appealing, since there’s no risk of getting caught. (Except the pictures don’t actually delete. Food for thought. That’s a chat for another time.)
Ask.fm is the same way. It’s a drama-causing machine, simply because people are free to speak and act in darkness.

Why am I even bringing all of this up?

Because I see the unnecessary heartache it causes you. I know how you feel when someone bullies you on there. I see the struggle you have when you don’t know how to respond to a gross question from boys. I see the struggle boys have controlling their hormones when no one else seems to be. I hear about all the drama you get wrapped up in. And it’s just not worth it.

Oh, and also, my cyber-friend Courtney asked me to talk about it:

“It’s pretty degrading but even I have one.” Been there. The ole everyone-is-doing-it peer pressure thing. It’s inevitable.

Ask.fm won’t be around forever, and it’s kind of already on it’s way down in popularity, I think.

It’s not about a specific app – the app itself isn’t bad! It’s about the mindset behind it, and about the characteristics it brings out in us. About the idea of darkness and light, and how easy it is to act differently under a secret identity.

So enough about that.

Here’s our call to action:

Be light.

Simple enough, but really, really important.
Be careful not to fall into the darkness spiral of terribleness. Only say and do things online that you would say and do in person.
Taking it a step further, be careful who you allow into your social media sphere of influence. It’s really hard to be light when you’re surrounded by people operating in the dark. And it’s pretty much impossible for darkness to creep in a room full of lights. 
So be light. And surround yourself with other lights.
Mmmmkay?

I love you all and goodbye for now.

3 thoughts on “A Word to my Friends about Ask.fm

  1. PS Dosa

    I remember back when I was younger (like 3.5 years ago) and I thought I would always keep up with all of latest trends. Yea, so much for that. There are too many things my younger sibs do these days. I can’t even keep up with what I have.

     
    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *