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The pros and cons of online anonymity

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AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

(Read caption) Children play on computers after eating a free lunch brought by the bus in Federal Way, Wash, July 15, 2013.

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Although anonymity has long been a source of safety, especially in political and human rights situations, it has been cited largely as a source of danger where teens and social media are concerned.

Ask.fm, a social media that allows anonymous posting, figured prominently in early coverage of UK teen Hannah Smith’s suicide, and US teen Hannah Anderson was using the site to answer questions about her ordeal just two days after being rescued, the Christian Science Monitor reported.

John LeBlanc, MD, author of a study about cyberbullying and suicide wrote that allowing anonymity “may encourage cyberbullying. It is difficult to prove a cause and effect relationship, but I believe there is little justification for anonymity.”

So we need to know more about the anonymity factor, but here are some things we do know already:


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