qoohme

Why Qooh.me? Kids on show with risky revelations

On a recent weekend away with some girlfriends, the subject of our kids invariably came up and we discussed the challenges, the achievements, the good, the bad and all that is in between when it comes to raising toddlers, tweens and teens. As some of us are working in counselling and education we often end up talking about our concerns for all kids today, and the challenges we have on both a personal and professional level.

Qooh.me became the focus of one of our conversations as this was causing my school teacher friend the biggest headache at her school and subsequently the rest of us became increasingly concerned.

What is Qooh.me?

Qooh.me is a social networking site whereby anonymous people can ask any question to those that set up an account. They can ask absolutely anything and there are no restrictions on who or what is asked. I will stress that absolutely anything does get asked and answered.  Many kids advertise their username on  their Instagram or Facebook profile so they are pretty easy to find. We proceeded to peruse the feeds of kids we know as there are no ‘friending’ or ‘following’…simply an open site where anyone is free to view your answers.

Why the need?

I am not sure why kids feel the need to have friends or total strangers ask them questions, often of a personal or intimate nature. I am not sure what it is that makes them compelled to share their inner most thoughts with the rest of the universe.

Whatever your view of  sites like Facebook, Instagram and Kik, their appeal is understandable as they are conversing, connecting and engaging.   But this site, and others like it, such as ask.fm, leave me feeling a little queasy. There is no real connection with people as more often than not those asking the questions are anonymous. You are not having a conversation, sharing your creative photo edits or even showing off your new pair of shoes. You are really just putting yourself out there to possibly be bullied, trolled, ridiculed and embarrassed. And boy did I see plenty of examples of all of that just from a quick flick through some of the accounts I checked. Sure some of it was harmless “Who is your best friend?” “Whats your favourite sport?”etc But a good deal of the questions centred around bitching, bulllying, sex and self harm.

Usually I would advocate that a couple of social networking sites are ok if we as parents are vigilant in helping our kids use them properly. This one however, serves no positive purpose.

What is also a worry is that kids are asking questions about other kids so even if your child is not on it, they have other people talking about them, making comments and bullying …all in a public domain that is open for anyone to see, including parents, potential employers, teachers and principals.

I am pretty sure a lot of the parents are not aware this site even exists, let alone that their kids are prolific users of it.

Maybe the real question we need to be asking our kids is…..Are you on this site? If so, why do you feel the need?

 

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This Post Has 37 Comments

  1. Wo – I had no idea that this site existed – what a strange and horrifying concept. I’ll be keeping my kids off it (thankfully Scout has a pretty sensible head, but peer pressure is a terrifying thing!) Kx

    1. You are certainly not alone in not knowing it exists and there are certainly more out there. Peer pressure is a scary thing, but we just have to keep the communication happening!

  2. I found this site on my daughters laptop on the weekend. It was so nasty and mean, the questions being asked were very sexual, or nasty, lots of name calling. If someone answers a question or even replies with “whatever” , the question and answer gets listed on their profile for the world to see. The thing is, it doesn’t even have to be a question. Someone can call you every name under the sun, anonymously, wide open road to anonymous cyberbullying.

    1. I must say Lisa I was pretty horrified too, and I have seen some pretty nasty stuff online….but some of this was just outrageous. It is certainly the ability to post anonymously and the inability to block comments that is very dangerous.

  3. I had no idea this site existed either, and I thought I was pretty up with the times. It does leave things open for cyberbullying that would be my major concern. I guess I am lucky my kids are too young at the moment, but you never know what will be around when they are at school.

    1. I think you are right in pointing out that despite being ‘up with all things social media’ there will always be a new site or app that alludes us. Much better therefore for us to teach them how to use all sites safely and make the best judgements as to which ones are appropriate or not.

  4. I had no idea about this site either, I think the social networking world we live in, is really changing the way we interact and seek attention from others. I thought FB was bad but this just sets people up for bullying and self-esteem issues.

    1. Yes, all sites can be used for good and bad but this one really serves no purpose of interaction and connection….so it is certainly one to be avoided.

  5. Whaaaat! I’ve never heard of this site… and I wish I could remain in ignorant bliss. See,s a VERY bad idea. I know one son of mine has asked questions of bands on some site, but nothing personal has been asked and he isn’t an askee.

    Horrors – thanks for heads up.

    1. Oh ignorant bliss…would kind of be nice! But I dread to think what sort of peril our kids would find themselves in. In saying that, I know many parents who are happy to stay in ignorant bliss….and yes these kids are finding themselves in nasty situations.

  6. This site has bothered me for quite some time. I think at its core, the sentiment is for the negative aspects of social media to be amplified. Easy to say we won’t let our own kids on there, but the truth is that you need to be full of stealth and make sure they are not. And in the future, who knows what else will pop up? Sad indeed. Josefa from #teamIBOT

    1. You are very right in alluding to other sites that will no doubt come up. I think it is important we talk to our kids about what value they get from certain sites and therefore hope they can make the best decisions about which ones they will use. Again it is about teaching them to always be thinking about what they are offering up online as well as why they are doing it. Hopefully then they will see that sites like this offer them nothing in return.

  7. I have never heard of this site. It makes me feel sick. Why would anyone want to be on this site!

    1. It is a question we need to keep asking Sam.

  8. I had never heard of it, and have today it alarms me. Perfect place for sexual predators by the sound of it.

    1. Yes perfect place for predators, mainly because of the anonymous nature of ‘questions’ and the inability to block. Everyone is also privy to everything that is said so it can make for embarrassing and harassing timelines!

  9. Oh no, one more to worry about!! With a 10 year old, I’m hoping we can keep our lines of communication open. Thanks for bringing it to our attention.

    1. Certainly Lisa the communication is the most important element to all of this, as yes there will always be another one to worry about.

  10. I came across this site a couple of years ago (if not this one something very like it).

    I really don’t understand the apeal – it’s a bit scary really.

    1. I dont understand the appeal either, but unfortunately kids are finding it appealing…or addictive. I think we need to keep talking to our kids about the value of sites like this and what they are really needing instead.

  11. Gosh Martine, that is shocking! Thanks for the heads up. V

    1. Thanks V, yes some of it has certainly shocked me big time! And I thought I’d seen a lot of stuff online!

  12. Seriously scary how much stuff there is to keep abreast of…

    1. Certainly Lydia, but I guess whilst we need to keep bringing attention to these sites, it is equally important we teach our kids about what is out there so they can make there own judgements as they are exposed to more and more.

  13. Nope, I did NOT know about this site, thank you for pointing it out, I totally agree with you.

    1. Thanks Jules, and I’m sure it wont be the last one like it!

  14. Oh my GOSH – who would create such a thing, and who would want to join? I cant get my head around such a site. Its not only dangerous, it serves no purpose what so ever. Actually I think it should be illegal. I just asked my boys if they heard of it/or was members and they said they are not on there – happy about that.
    And your right – i didn’t know about it 🙂

  15. I honestly don’t know why people are complaining about this website. We could compare this website to spreading rumours in the playground 20 years ago. The reason this website has so much Appel to teenagers and kids is to see what people think about them, to see if they’re a nice person at school. The website also has a good Appel to anyone, not just teenagers. The websites seem like a lot of fun to ask normal questions. If you make an effort to be nice to people at school and they call you swear words on a website they’re not worthy to know you. There is always going to be assholes in this world, this website would be good to teach someone to grow a pair, be a man. It teaches them that everyone in this world isn’t a nice person.

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  18. I’ve been much more familiar with Ask.fm and some of the things I’ve seen there horrify me. So this is another to add to the list, thanks for sharing and informing xx

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