Over the past few days, a new app, Sarahah has rocketed in popularity as the new hot way for kids and teens to send anonymous messages to a person if that person has the app installed. It has exploded in popularity because it can be hooked up to your Snapchat and Instagram accounts.
Sarahah helps you point out other people’s flaws and weaknesses without any intention of hoping that they improve, just because you gave them “honest feedback.” And did we mention that they won’t know who you are and they can’t respond either.
Created by Saudi Arabian developer Zain al-Abidin Tawfiq, the app was initially built so that people could give anonymous feedback in the workplace without the fear of retribution from their bosses.
Kids, teens, and even adults are using the app to rate others based on physical appearances, social media posts and more. We are sure not everyone who’s downloaded the app is using it in a hurtful manner, but if you’re a parent, you might want to see if your child has this app downloaded on their phone. There have already been multiple reports of cyber bullying using this app.
Another scary game doing the rounds on internet for some time now is the Blue Whale suicide game. In this challenge, teens are given increasingly intense tasks to complete for 50 days that leads to self-harm and culminates in suicide by jumping off a building. Teens challenge each other to play via social media and players are assigned game administrators who elicit their personal information that may later be used against them. Players are required to upload photos of the completed tasks, and if they refuse, game administrators may threaten to harm family members or come and do the task for them. It becomes extremely difficult to say NO.
The game has been linked to the deaths of 130 teens across Russia.
Instagram and Snapchat are the most common sites used for the challenge, though this and other death groups are also hidden in Facebook and Reddit. Blue Whale has also been known as A Silent House, A Sea of Whales, F57 or F-57 and more may appear. Social media sites are working to take preventative measures.
According to psychologists and technology experts, parents should always monitor and have full access to their child’s social media accounts. All parents should have open and honest conversations about online safety and cyber bullying.
You may not be able to stop your child from exposure, but you can use these as opportunities for open dialogue about your child’s feelings and experiences. Educate yourself and your child on suicide warning signs, which may include changes in behaviour or performance in areas such as eating, sleeping, and academics, or a change of a friend group. Most importantly, listen to your child without judgement to give them a safe place to disclose those deepest thoughts and feelings that might be hardest to share.