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Sarahah

Website review by
Erin Brereton, Common Sense Media
Sarahah Website Poster Image
Anonymous responses may often lead to iffy interactions.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this website.

Positive Messages

The site's structure drives users to express their feelings and opinions.

Violence

Kids could potentially receive comments that mention violent acts because responses are private and seemingly unmoderated.

 

Sex

The site doesn't appear to screen content or have any rules against posting specific things; so it's entirely possible posts or the responses they receive could mention sexual words, acts, or other items.

 

Language

It's possible to create topics and posts that contain swears.

 

Consumerism

Kids will see sponsored ads situated in the middle of the page, making it look like site content.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Users could potentially post or respond to items involving drugs, drinking, or smoking.

 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Sarahah is a messaging website, where the messages sent between users are delivered anonymously. Comments that other users send also won't identify who made them and aren't posted publicly, making conversations a specific chat between two users. Users are supposed to be 17 or older, but all younger users need to do to register is check a box saying they are -- the site doesn't verify age. Users may also be exposed to all kinds of inappropriate content, ranging from violence to sexual commentary to swearing and substance discussions; with the site's lack of moderated discussion, there's no guarantee that you won't encounter this when talking with others.

User Reviews

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What's it about?

SARAHAH is the online version of the Sarahah anonymous messaging app. Users enter a first name to register and get a username-based URL they can share on social media to direct people to comment on posts they make under eight categories: books, sports, gaming, movies, health, technology, self-development, and places. Users can also check messages and may be able to send comments directly to other users on the site if they find someone randomly by entering their first name.

Is it any good?

While posts need to be shared on social media to get responses, users can do less on this messaging-based website than you may think -- but the interactions you get in return may be extremely iffy. There aren't any instructions on how to best use Sarahah, and the FAQ is only five questions long. But Sarahah's confusing functionality is just one of its problems. The site leaves much of the work involved in connecting users to posts and each other to Twitter, Facebook, and WhatsApp. That seems like a thinly veiled way of passing any possible issues off to other sites while attempting to maintain independence from content.

Users can post a topic on Sarahah's site, but random users won't see it, so they can't respond. Instead, users need to share the URL on an external outlet, seemingly to encourage only people they know to weigh in. You can't friend other site users and get anonymous responses from them, or post a question to large groups of Sarahah users. This limitation doesn't necessarily make it a safer experience, though. Since the responses users get when they share items on social media are anonymous, people have carte blanche to say whatever they want -- and reportedly do. Although its creators say the app and website were designed to help people receive private, constructive, and honest feedback, some parents have voiced concern about the app being used to bully kids. With seemingly little to no moderation, clear rules, or other restrictions, it's not hard to imagine how that could happen -- or why Sarahah may not be the best outlet for kids to communicate with.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how being anonymous can contribute to cyberbullying. Would people be as negative and mean in person? Why might it be easier to do that online?

  • How can kids tell if a website or app is a safe choice? What signs may indicate the way users communicate could cause problems?

Website details

For kids who love social media

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