Is your teen using the Sarahah app? I just came across it recently and I’ve been looking into what it’s all about. Originating in Saudi Arabia, Sarahah is an anonymous messaging app, and has remained in the top iTunes charts since it grew in popularity, so here’s what parents need to know about the Sarahah messaging app.
Since we wrote this article, the Sarahah app has been removed from Apple and Google Play Stores, but you should still be cautious here’s an update from Wayne Denner.
What is the Sarahah app?
Sarahah is a social media app that allows people to send and receive messages. Using your phone contact list, it lets you connect with friends and send anonymous comments via messages to them.
The app’s description in the App Store: “Sarahah helps you in discovering your strengths and areas for improvement by receiving honest feedback from your employees and your friends in a private manner.”
How does it work
You download the free app and create an account by putting in a username, password and email address and ticking that you have read their terms and conditions. The t&c are about the shortest I’ve ever seen on an app!
It’s a fairly simple app in that there’s a search facility to find users, an inbox, a sent box and a settings page.
Once you register, you can share your Sarahah profile link on any social platforms and ask that people to give you feedback via the link. People can comment anonymously and it will be delivered to you through the app or site. You can also give feedback on others.
You can also find people to comment on by using the search function or a direct link. You may also receive messages from people who haven’t created an account.
If your teen uses Snapchat they can link Sarahah to their account so that they can share screenshots of comments they receive through Sarahah with their Snapchat friends.
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What Parents Need to be Aware Of
There are some things parents need to be aware of. Firstly you are supposed to be at least 17 years old to download this app according to the Apple Store but there’s no date of birth input when you sign up on the app after download so there’s nothing stopping younger people creating an account on it.
You can comment on friends and strangers without them knowing it’s you. Because of the anonymous aspect this can lead to potential problems.
It is a social network that lets you send and receive messages anonymously. You may remember hearing about Yik Yak, another anonymous messaging app, this would be similar. The developers of Sarahah actually created it for employees to give their bosses honest feedback, but as with many apps, the original idea can become misused.
People can make comments, but you cannot reply to them. The Sarahah website states “You can’t respond to messages now. We are studying this option.” It is also possible to leave messages without an account. What people seem to be doing is to take to other social channels such as Twitter using the #sarahah hashtag to respond to the comments or share good comments that they have had.
Remember that anonymous apps often bring out the worst in users because people feel they can say anything anonymously without accountability.
At the moment there is no way of reporting inappropriate messages or threats to the app developers. The website offers an email address for “non support requests”.
You may decide not to allow your teen to use the app, but if you do then here are some tips.
Tips for Parents if Your Teen is using the Sarahah App
#1. Make sure the account is private.
Go into the settings screen and make sure two things in particular are switched off, Appear in Search and Receive from Non-Registered.
#2. Try it yourself
Try it yourself and get your teen to show you the basics. This is one of the best ways of learning and understanding what it’s about.
#3. Have a conversation again about internet safety
Remind your teen that they should only befriend true life friends or family members on the app and to tell you if they see anything strange or receive any adverse messages. Suggest that they only share their Sarahah link privately with true friends.
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#4. Have a conversation about feedback
Discuss with your kids about anonymous feedback and how they feel if that feedback is not good. Talk about the fact that it’s easy to get upset about negative feedback especially if you don’t know who it has come from or what the motive was for giving it.
Ask them to think about praise they have received from friends or people they know and whether they would give more weight to having received it in person rather than anonymously via an app.
Over to you now. Does your teen use the Sarahah app? What are your thoughts on it?