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?