Sarahah - The free for all bullying App
The first time I heard of the App Sarahah was last year in May. A teenager I knew was getting bullied on it.
The moment I heard the likes of it, an app for sending and receiving feedback and questions from friends and co-workers anonymously, I knew we were in for trouble.
It hit the App store and has Skyrocketed to one of the top free App's out there. Why? Teens, especially middle schoolers can't resist the thrill of getting an anonymous message.
Most teens download it innocently with no intent of bullying. They are hoping for a message like "you're hot" or "I like you" but more often or not they are getting messages to the likes of these that have been shown to me by teenagers I have worked with:
"ur a ltiitle treihard witha huge ass nose- u skanky bitchh"
"I'm going to 🍆💦 to your Instagram in a minute."
"... should've taught you how to do your makeup when you were still bff's."
"I hate you"
You might ask yourself in horror, "Who would send this kind of message?
The answer is hair-raising. Good kids from good homes who have downloaded the App. With no controls or guidance, they can't resist leaving a mean anonymous message to that kid that drives them crazy at school.
This App is a place for free for all bullying where everyone is participating.
So how did this get started? "Sarahah was created by Saudi developer Zain al-Abidin Tawfiq with the purpose of employees to give anonymous, honest feedback to their employers. At first, it was only in Arabic, but due to its success, they decided to bring it to the English speaking market and teenagers have gone wild with it.
Sarahah and Snapchat
The kids have not only been downloading it and using it; they are also linking it to their Snapchat profiles. Last July Snapchat added a linking feature to share posts between the apps. Now when kids share a snap, they can tap on a little paper clip icon that lets them paste links. By embedding a link to their Sarahah profiles, they are encouraging their Snapchat followers to send them anonymous messages.
The word Sharahah means candor or openness in Arabic. I think we can all agree that being open to someone is excellent as long as you are open as well. This is not open; the kids are hiding behind the app which is the contrary to openness.
My advice to you parents...Go on your child's phone with them and look for this App, if they have it, explain what is happening and the importance of deleting it for good. After this conversation, make them delete it. You are protecting them from themselves and from others.
Some teens may argue that they will never bully but need to be connected, they need to defend their friends. Even if they mean well, by answering questions and re-sharing these comments they are magnifying the problem; creating an even bigger emotional mess for those involved.
It's high time we take online bullying seriously.
–Allison Ochs, Social Worker M.S.W. , Coach, Expat, Mother of three, Wife