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Sarahah, the new ‘honesty app’ floating around the Internet can be especially damaging for women and for teenagers. Here’s why.
Sarahah is the Arabic term for ‘honesty’ and the premise of this app is straightforward, by itself. It is the latest new app floating in cyber space, and available free on Google Play and iOS platforms
The user creates a Sarahah profile, which anyone can visit and post messages to, anonymously. The user profile can also be linked to social media platforms. The visitors need not be logged in, and the messages are anonymous, by default, unless they choose to reveal their identity.
On the user profile, the messages are received in the inbox, typically like a message setting where you can flag them, delete them, like or store your preferred messages.
It was an app developed with the intention of receiving “constructive feedback”. Although, it was created as a good platform for receiving positive feedback on the work front or even personally, the same can be widely misused.
Even the most positive reviews of this app, come with a warning that this app isn’t for the ‘faint-hearted’.
As with any application floating around the Internet, allowing users to post messages anonymously, it has quickly become a platform for cyber abuse and bullying as well.
Although you can block the messages, the user will still need to read the message first. As such, the damage is already done if the message is a degrading one. It allows people to act in spiteful and demeaning ways without giving any thought to the feelings of others.
As such, women and teenagers will fall easy prey to this kind of online abuse. Women are especially vulnerable, since they are subjected to body shaming, comments on their skin color and other such harassment and other such unrestrained abuse, which this platform provides by ensuring privacy of the sender.
An anonymous review of the Play Store, says, “This app does nothing but allow cyber bullying to happen. I have received nothing but heartless, cruel comments. This app just allows people to degrade others. Something must be done about this.”
Teenagers too are subjected to peer pressure to use social media apps, and now with the integration of Sarahah to social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat, they can easily fall victims to cyber bullying. The cyber abuse and degrading happens easily, and conveniently without any repercussions to the sender. Troubled and depressed teenagers, take to vent out their frustration and anger through the usage of this app and it becomes very easy for them to do so. We are actively promoting the act of cyber abuse, by using a platform like Sarahah.
A step further to this kind of abuse, leads to depression and even suicide attempts in case of teenagers.
Another review on the Play Store objects, “My friend attempted suicide because of what people were saying to her over this. This is a way for kids to harass others with no penalties whatsoever.”
This Facebook post says it well.
An online medium, which allows unidentified comments to be posted and which in turn doesn’t allow the user to reply, opens up the wide-ranging possibility for unrestrained and boundless cyber bullying.
Although it is creating buzz, I would definitely keep away from this, at least for now.
I am Anjali, from Bangalore. Mother to a six year old boy. A one-liner
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