March 2018 Update: Due to a viral petition circulated by the mother of a young girl who received death threats through the Sarahah app, it has been removed from the Apple App Store and Google Play for Android. Wow! Way to go, mom! If you already have the app downloaded, you can still use it. But, it’s anonymity caught up to it.
What is the Sarahah App?
Description: At the time of this post, the Sarahah app (link to manufacturer’s site) is the #1 most popular app in the Apple iTunes app store, beating Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram. It was created in the Middle East as a way for co-workers to anonymously share feedback about each other, in a region where face-to-face confrontation is not socially acceptable. The name means “honesty” or “frankness” in Arabic and was created by Saudi Arabian developer Zain al-Abidin Tawqif.
A recent update to Snapchat, whereby users can post links to websites within Snaps caused the app’s popularity to skyrocket overnight (12 days after the Snapchat update on July 5, the app went from ranked #1500 to #1 – we’ve never seen anything link this).
Category: Social Networking
APP Store rating: 4+ (meaning, Apple thinks it’s completely risk-free)
What do parents need to know about Sarahah?
- Anonymity = Bullies. Everywhere. It’s anonymous sharing. This has always created a breeding ground for hate and very poor teen decision making. Similar to historically risky apps like Afterschool, Whisper, and Ask.fm (the original anonymous sharing app).
- Is there pornography on the app? Not that we could find – right now, it’s just text and we weren’t able to find a backdoor to Google.
- Prevent app access. The #1 way for parents to control an app like Sarahah is to prevent access to the iTunes App store and Google Play (using Covenant Eyes).
- Foreign ownership is a law enforcement nightmare. Other apps like Ask.fm (Eastern Europe) and Kik (Canada) proved that tracking down illegal activity in foreign owned apps is extremely difficult.
Here’s how the interaction between Snapchat and Sarahah works:
- Download the Sarahah app and create a profile.
- Use Snapchat to create a Snap and click the paperclip option on the upper right.
- Type the Sarahah account URL you just created into the bar (Snapchat then saves the URL to use next time).
- Direct send the Snap to friends or post to your Story.
- Friends leave anonymous feedback in the Sarahah box that appears when they view the Snap.
- Anonymous messages are posted in the “Messages” – “Received” in Sarahah.
The bottom line – is Sarahah safe?
Anything anonymous is not meant for kids. Tweens and teens don’t need any help being impulsive. Removing the risk of consequence from decision-making creates massive red flags. This app is not meant for kids and should be avoided at all costs. Again, the #1 way to avoid exposure to negative apps is to turn off the app store in Apple’s restrictions. It’s that easy! Oh, and for updates like this delivered right to your e-mail inbox, just text the word “protect” (no quotes) to 66866.
Now what? Have you heard of Bark?
Are you interested in having greater insight into the social media platforms that your kids are using? Bark is one of the best platforms we’ve tested. If your kid is using social media, then they need Bark. We trust them and we think you should, too!
*There may be affiliate links throughout this post because we’ve tested and trust a small list of parental control solutions. Our work saves you time! If you decide that you agree with us, then we may earn a small commission, which does nothing to your price. Enjoy!
I love life. Seriously! Each. Day. A. Gift. Former CPA, business advisor, youth pastor, development director. Manage marketing efforts for Covenant Eyes and CEO of PYE. God shares wild ideas with me about life while I run. I have a relentless drive to help families use technology well.