Hannah Smith, 14, was found hanged in her bedroom
London – Naeem Arzu
The father a teenager who committed suicide after receiving abuse on a social media website, Ask.fm, has said its owner should be prosecuted.
Hannah Smith, 14, was found hanged in her bedroom by her sister, at her home in Leicestershire, after being ‘cyber-bullied’ in an online chat forum.
Her father, Dave Smith, initially announced the news of her death on Facebook, but later discovered the cruel message on her profile on Ask.fm; a networking site popular with teenagers, which allows member to anonymously send questions and comments and respond to other members.
One anonymous comment sent to Hannah read, “every1 will be happy if u died”.
The website received condemnation by Hannah’s father Dave Smith, who called for it be shut down immediately. He said, “Websites like this are bullying websites because people can be anonymous. If I had not spoken up about this another teenager could be dead next week.”
He added, “The fact that these people can be anonymous is wrong. The person that created this website should be done for manslaughter”.
Following a backlash and calls for its closure, the site released a statement offering condolences, and said it would cooperate with the police fully.
It said, “"Ask.fm actively encourages our users and their parents to report any incidences of bullying, either by using the in-site reporting button, or via our contact page.
"All reports are read by our team of moderators to ensure that genuine concerns are heard and acted upon immediately - and we always remove content reported to us that violates our Terms of Service."
An inquest was opened into the death of Hannah, at Leicestershire Coroner’s Court. It was adjourned after a postmortem examination proved inconclusive.