A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
SARAHAH is an anonymous feedback app originally designed for use in the corporate workspace so that employees could give anonymous criticism to their employers. However, teens use it to essentially pass anonymous digital notes to each other. The app lets you create a profile and works as an add-on to the popular social networking app Snapchat. Drawing upon the contact list on your phone, it lets you connect with friends and send anonymous comments to them. It also lets you search for users and send anonymous messages to them, as well, even if you don't know them. In the privacy settings, teens can choose to not be found in a search or get feedback from unregistered users.
Is it any good?
As you can imagine, this anonymous commenting tool makes it all too easy to be cruel. There's not much to Sarahah; its barren screens aren't attractive, and its interface is near nonexistent. The app works by attaching itself like a digital parasite to Snapchat, enabling teens to use screenshots of negative comments to garner consolation from friends (friends who might be the anonymous authors of those negative comments!) or to humblebrag about how cool they are. Sure, perhaps some teens use it to send anonymous messages with their schoolyard crushes, but more often it's used to say all the mean things teens would never say to a friend's face. App store reviews confirm this, as users recount stories of anonymous death threats and sexual harassment. So, like so many anonymous apps before it, this is another one to avoid.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how online anonymity used in apps like Sarahah contributes to cyberbullying. Do you think people could be as mean to someone's face? How does the screen make it easier?
Talk with your teens about choosing apps wisely. How can they stay safe and away from drama and still be a part of what their friends are doing? Where do they draw the line?
Discuss how your kid can handle online abuse of themselves or someone else. How can they avoid it, and what can they do when it happens?
For kids who love social networking and kindness
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