Sarahah is an anonymous messaging app that originated in Saudi Arabia.
Parents and kids have reason to be wary. Here is what you need to know about this app:
- It is a social network that lets you send and receive messages anonymously.
- The developers created it so that employees to give their bosses honest feedback, believing that the only way to do was with their identities protected. In fact, “sarahah” means “frankly” in Arabic, according to Google Translate.
- People make comments, but it’s not possible to reply to them. The Sarahah website acknowledges the inability to respond to messages, saying “You can’t respond to messages now. We are studying this option.” It is also possible to leave messages without an account.
- Anonymous apps often bring out the worst in users who feel they can say anything they wish with zero accountability. It is a ripe environment for cyber bullying and nasty behavior.
- The Sarahah website is meager with the shortest and least helpful Terms & Conditions ever seen for an app and no specification of an age requirement for users. Under FAQ, it states “Sarahah won’t disclose the identity of the logged-in senders to users except with their consent.”
- There is no way to report inappropriate content or threats to those behind the app. The website offers an email address for “non-support requests.”
- Users are posting links to the Sarahah account to their Instagram Stories and via Snapchat, thanks to a new update there earlier this month allowing links on stories. That update accelerated the app’s spread among English-speaking teenagers. They also post screen shots of their Sarahah feedback.
Talk with your kids about what value they give anonymous feedback. Discuss how they decide to give weight to individual’s opinions.