App Review – Sarahah
Threat Level – Very High
Sarahah is an app developed by Zainalabdin Tawfiq. If you haven’t heard of this or seen anything about it, then get ready. It is already here and is the talk of the kids with school starting back. This app originated and has been growing in Saudi Arabia and Egypt with the biggest growth to date in India. With the amount of growth, it was a matter of time before it hit the United States…and guess what, it is here.
The Sarahah app is meant for sending and receiving feedback from others, anonymously. The creators described it by saying: Sarahah helps people self-develop by receiving constructive anonymous After you create a Sarahah profile, which anyone can visit (with or without account) people can visit your profile and leave messages, anonymously. If they have logged in, messages are still anonymous by default, but users can choose to tag their identity.
On the receiving side, all the messages show up in an inbox where you can flag messages, delete them, reply, or favourite them.
Parents must remember anonymity enables people to act out and behave in sometimes harmful ways without consideration for others. Even positive reviews still warn that this app is not for the weak but is marketed as a social interaction tool. If you scroll through the reviews that people are leaving, you will see a common thread of people receiving mean messages.
You can remove your profile from search results, limiting the people who you share your profile with, and you can also turn off access for unauthorised users. Right now you cannot right back which is a feature they are currently changing. You can also block senders, so you will never see any further messages. This seems like a sandbox for cyber bullying. We need to monitor this app very closely.
This isn’t the first anonymous messaging app we’ve seen that took off. You have read my other reviews in past with Yik Yak, Secret and even Whisper. Sarahah’s seems to look more at private messaging and less on social media, and so visiting another users’ profile won’t show anything, unless they choose to make the posts public. This app doesn’t even require a login or account if you don’t want one. This is a first for this style app. The email addresses you register with is usually a tool for marketing to generate income for the company.
As you can see, I gave this app a very high threat level. Do to its booming success and growth with kids, We need to remember anonymity apps such as this are really dangerous and cannot be monitored the way they need to be. Once negative anonymous messages are received, emotionally the damage is done to our children.
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