What you need to know about Sarahah

10 Aug 2017

The “Honesty App” that everyone’s talking about

Ever thought about what it’d be like to hear people’s thoughts? Well, with the new ‘honesty app’ Sarahah, you can.

“Sarahah” literally translates as ‘Frankness’ in Arabic, which means to be honest, open and direct with someone. The point of Sarahah is to leave anonymous messages of feedback to your friends and co-workers for them to read. All you have to do is search for your friends, find their profile and say whatever you want, safe in the knowledge that they won’t know who sent it.

…what could go wrong, right?

It doesn’t take a genius to see the problem here. Anything that promotes anonymous posting to either friends or strangers is dangerous and promotes a culture of online abuse, cyberbullying and trolling.

According to Ditch the Label research, cyberbullying affects 17% of people under 20. This statistic is at the risk of soaring to new heights with the growing popularity of Apps such as Sarahah.

The app has flown to the top of app store charts and now has millions of users worldwide, despite having only 2.9 stars in the Play Store reviews and insufficient staff working there to moderate messages.

Here are some user reviews:

“I feel harassed on this app, IDK who started rumours but people think it’s funny to comment… it’s not fun being in that situation. This app needs to stop.”

“It’s easy for people to say what they think of you. One of the messages said something about me having glasses and how its bad, about me being apparently obese when I’m not. I’m far from obese and telling me to die because the world doesn’t need me. I don’t care what people say to me or think about me, but this did hit me hard.”

“This is the worst App ever!!! My daughter used it for a day and at first nice comments but slowly more mean comments started coming in. Not constructive criticism but mean such as the last one before she deleted it told her to kill herself!!! This app enabled bullying without being held responsible for their actions! Unless you enjoy being bullied, don’t use this app, it’s awful!”

“This app is not constructive at all!!! This app is basically allowing people to bully others anonymously and get away with it…”

“It’s a good app, works well and does what it says. But people will say what they think and it can be harsh, but it’s your choice to sign up…”

The Facts

69% of people under 20 have done something abusive to another person online

According to recent Ditch the label research, the majority of people surveyed had done something abusive to another person online. This includes things such as, sending a nasty message, laughing at a person’s status in a group chat, trolling someone in an online game, or creating a fake profile to annoy someone online.

It is considered by some people that Apps like Sarahah perpetuate the culture of online trolling and cyberbullying. By not having enough procedures in place to tackle abuse, they are simply continuing the idea that its ok to abuse people online, so long as it is anonymous.

Ditch the Label urges smartphone users to steer clear of Sarahah. If you do want to use it, keep it clean, positive and constructive. The effects of receiving online abuse can be severely detrimental to the mental health and wellbeing of the person on the receiving end of it.

Of the people surveyed in the Annual Bullying Survey 2017, 41% said that they had developed social anxiety as a direct result of cyberbullying, 37% developed depression, 26% had suicidal thoughts. Couple these statistics with a vulnerable person who’s being told to ‘kill themselves’ by an anonymous Sarahah user, and the consequences can be catastrophic….

…Think before you hit send.

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