December 16, 2017

Sarahah is just another avenue for cyberbullying

We live in a world of connectedness.  Whether it is Facebook, Twitter, or Snapchat, we are heavily connected to our social media.  Now Sarahah, an anonymous social media platform, has been added to the mix.  Sarahah comes across as a positive creation, but I believe it opens doors to a new breeding ground for cyberbullying. 

Sarahah’s website states, “Sarahah helps you in discovering your strengths and areas for improvement by receiving honest feedback from your employees and your friends in a private manner.” Simply put, Sarahah is a place where friends, co-workers and many others can anonymously post to your account and you cannot respond back. 

Cyberbullying is defined as a form of bullying that takes place online or in the various forms of digital communication. With today’s technology, cyberbullying can occur through text messages, social media like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, e-mail and Snapchat.

According to NoBullying.com, 52 percent of young people report being cyberbullied on social media and 55 percent of teens using social media have witnessed outright bullying online. 95 percent of those who witnessed it on social media ignored the behavior.   

Sarahah allows for bullies to reach out to the vulnerable and prey on their weaknesses. Except with this app, they can hide behind their anonymity.               

The App Store reviews for Sarahah are dominated by negative feedback. Many reflect the worries of parents and users that Sarahah creates an atmosphere of hatred and bullying.   

“My son signed up for an account and within 24 hours someone posted a horrible racist comment on his page including saying that he should be lynched,” one reviewer said. “This site is a breeding ground for hate.”

Another user referred to the site in stronger terms, saying it is an app that can cause suicides and the same user is calling out to parents to not allow their children to get this app. 

Similar apps such as Yik Yak have undergone criminal investigations for racism, threats and bullying, particularly on college campuses. Because of such investigations and verbally aggressive uses, Yik Yak officially shut down in 2017.   

Bullying and harassment in any form is unacceptable and shows the self-consciousness of the bully. But, bullying by hiding behind the anonymity of apps such as Sarahah not only shows self-consciousness but cowardice.  There is proof through similar apps like Yik Yak that anonymous posting sites are 100 percent capable of turning into breeding grounds of hate.  So why do we continue to do it?  Why do we continue to develop such apps that can potentially push the already vulnerable mind to acts like harming themselves or suicide?      

I urge anyone participating in Sarahah to delete their account.  Do not encourage the growth of apps like this one.  Do not be apart of something that has the reputation of being a “breeding ground for hatred.” 

Instead, if you have something positive to say to someone – say it to their face.  Have the courage to say it in person to them because it could make a difference in that one person’s life.  And, as the saying goes, “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say it at all.” 

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