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It was designed to allow your child to receive anonymous criticism and compliments, but this new social media tool is another way for bullies to target your teen.

Sarahah is a brand new app, released only a few months ago, created around the concept that people can send criticism and compliments to the user. Completely anonymously.

It has already been downloaded millions of times.

The concept is fairly straightforward, we download the app or create an account on the website, and are given a unique link to our profile. At this point, any person, anywhere in the world can leave a comment on our page. They don’t even have to have an account to do it.

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Sarahah began as a tool for employees to leave comments about their bosses, a way for them to receive feedback on their working performance, to identify their ‘strengths and areas for improvement’. But it has now become available worldwide and is open to anyone.

Social media is tough enough for most kids, even when their bullies aren’t hiding behind anonymity.

“Any messaging app or social media app that markets itself as being a place to post anonymous messages or posts will lend itself to anonymous bullying,” cyber expert Leonie Smith told ABC News. She also added that similar apps like Yik Yak and Secret failed because they failed to handle the volume of online abuse they allowed.

Despite the app having an option to report abuse, with no requirement for commenters to have an account, there’s no real repercussion for people who might be harassing your teen.

One review reads, “Kids are using this to bully other kids. There’s no way of telling who they are so they think they can say anything. My 13 year old daughter had a deluge of sickening abuse and sexual harassment. I’ve deleted it off her phone. The devs need to put more protection in place.”

Leonie Smith advises the best defence is to not allow your children to have the app in the first place, or any others like it. She also reinforced that monitoring their online activity is still the best option for keeping your kids safe.

“Accountability is good for civility,” says Leonie, “Feedback sites are dubious places for fair feedback when commentators are anonymous.”

How scary! Do your kids have this app? 

  • I have never heard of this, scary indeed, thanks for the article.

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  • ok this app is weird and sounds nasty and no way would i let my kids download it. Hopefully it gets removed because this is not promoting good things at the end of the day

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  • What an awful app. What a bizarre concept – I’m obviously not the target demographic but I couldn’t think of anything worse than subscribing to receive anyonmous criticism.

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  • One way to prevent it is if you give your child a basic mobile phone that doesn’t have the ability to have apps. If they must have a phone set it up that you program a limited numbers including emergency and lock others out.

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  • It’s disgusting that things like this are available- there are enough problems with bullies and social media as it is. Why not create an app that only allows compliments so that it makes people feel better?

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  • Well done, Rovermum. You did the right thing!!

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  • My son does not have this app but after I read about this online it did open up a discussion. He explained many of his friends do, but we discussed him not having it and the consequences of him using it. New apps appear so fast it’s so hard to keep up. However, posts like this help keep me informed.

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  • I’ve never heard of this app. Thanks for the heads up !

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  • Scary :( social media went so downhill so quickly

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  • I am so thankful that I don’t use social media – and more so when I see posts like this.

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  • Not a social media freak and never will be and will make sure my kids are not.

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  • The best way to prevent cyber bullying is to keep your kids off social networking. My kids are still primary school aged and while they have tablets the internet is firewalled so that they can’t access social networking or other adult sites.
    Too many people are blaming others for their kids being bullied, it’s time they got their heads out of their phones and started spending time with their kids. As a child who was bullied it was my mother who dealt with it. She didn’t broadcast it all over the ‘net or blame the school etc like parents do these days.
    Many people may think I am being too harsh not letting my kids free access to social networking but guess what, they aren’t bullies or bullied.

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  • I can see this could be useful at work – some people could be scared to raise legitimate issues with their boss – but it has SOOOO many dangers too.

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  • Any feedback to a boss or from a boss needs to be face to face – so there is no misunderstanding. The same applies to adults and teenagers when communicating with other people. People need to have the courage to face people face to face and communicate rather than be anonymous and hide behind a keyboard. Why would anyone want to receive compliments or critiques anonymously? I just don’t understand this one?

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  • Oh my! I saw some people talking about this Sarahah in Facebook this morning, and I couldn’t understand what they were talking about. Now I understand. I find this app quite dangerous indeed.

    Reply

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