THE number of teenagers using the controversial website ask.fm has dropped dramatically, research has found.
A survey by the Irish anti-bullying service Bully4u showed that of the 40% of nine to 12-year-olds that had used the site, only 8% were still using it.
It also revealed that of the 45% of 13 and 14-year-olds and 55% of 15 to 17-year-olds who used it, only 10% of both groups still use it.
The website came in for huge criticism after the suicides of Erin and Shannon Gallagher were linked to vile bullying on the site.
Bully4u director Jim Harding said cyber-bullying on ask.fm is one of the reasons for the decline.
He added: “The latest figures from the survey will be welcomed by parents the length and breadth of Ireland. The decline is largely down to the media campaign against this site following a number of tragic suicides which were linked to cyber-bullying.
“Schoolchildren cite bullying on ask. fm and parental pressure as the main reasons they were no longer frequenting the site.” Almost every teenager who took part in the survey has a Facebook profile and half have a Twitter profile.
Mr Harding said: “Facebook’s requirement to open an account is that you must be 13 years or older.
“Our research indicates that 85% of children aged nine to 12 have a Facebook account and 33% of these were helped by their parents to open it.”
He is also concerned about the number of teenagers using the Snapchat app which allows users to send pictures before deleting the picture a number of seconds after it’s opened.
He said: “Snapchat is being used to cyber bully and for sexting.
“In addition, 30% of secondary schoolchildren visit Chat Roulette sites like Omegle that pair random people from around the world together for webcam-based conversations. These sites would be of great concern.”