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Sarahah: staying safe with the new anonymous feedback app

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Sarahah is a new social app which allows users to send one another anonymous messages.

It was designed as a workplace feedback tool, so colleagues could send one another honest feedback. Since its release in June, it’s become incredibly popular, with over 15 million people using the app worldwide.

"Honesty"

Sarahah means “honesty” in Arabic. The app is based on the idea that people are more likely to be honest if they are anonymous, but the idea of being ‘anonymously honest’ seems to have a far broader appeal than just in the workplace. Teenagers and young people are using the app to leave messages for one another, especially as it’s become possible to link your Sarahah account with other social networks like Snapchat.

Unfortunately, where there’s anonymity, there’s a potential avenue for cyberbullying; in recent years, apps like Yik Yak and PostSecret were shut down due to malicious posting.

Tips for staying safe with Sarahah

  1. Be kind. If you’re sending feedback on Sarahah, be constructive and positive in what you say: honesty doesn’t have to be brutal! Treat others as you would wish to be treated. Think before you post.

  2. Prepare yourself. Before you install Sarahah, think about how you’ll deal with negative or abusive comments, and consider whether it’s worth the potential stress. If you’re not sure if you’re ready, don’t install it!

  3. Keep it friends-only. Only share your Sarahah username and link with people that you trust. Don’t post it publicly. In the “Settings” section of the Sarahah app, disable appearing in searches and allowing unauthorised users to send you messages. Doing this limits the number of people who will be able to message you. More advice on social media safety.

  4. Block abusers. The app allows you to block senders. The app won’t tell you who has been sending the messages, but it will ensure you don’t receive any more messages from a person you have blocked.

  5. Delete the app. If it all gets too much, and you’re receiving hurtful comments, then get that app off your phone. You can live without Sarahah. If it’s left you feeling bad then speak to someone you trust.

  6. Get help. If you are receiving abusive messages and harassment on Sarahah, this is a form of cyberbullying. Don’t be afraid to treat it as such, and read our advice on how to deal with cyberbullying.

Advice for parents and carers

You may not understand everything they're using but they still need you to be their parent, to guide, advise and comfort.

  • Try to keep up with the apps that your children are using, and stay curious.
  • Learn the facts about cyberbullying.
  • Use news stories open up a conversation and to chat through their own experiences.
  • Keep an eye out for any signs of anxiety and distress in your child.

Cookies, a new West End play, deals with the effects of cyberbullying, including anonymous abusive texts and how it feels to not know who’s behind the messages. Based on the experiences of over 100 young people, this astonishing digital journey raises awareness of what young people face today.

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