Cyberbullying: The New App You Should Know

Have you heard of Sarahah? If your kids have smartphones, you should know about this new controversial app.

For teens, life is all about keeping up. They feel like they have to be current and they have to know about the latest trends. These days, with kids spending so much time on their phones, the most innovative trends are apps. Sarahah is the latest app kids and teens are using. Users create a profile with a username and upload a picture… and then send and receive anonymous messages to each other. Anybody can send an anonymous message to any user, even somebody who doesn’t have a Sarahah account. Users do have the option to make their profile viewable from search or not. Sarahah is just the latest in a series of apps and sites that allow users to leave comments, questions, or messages without revealing their own identity.

Cyberbullying

Whether it’s Sarahah, ask.fm, Yik Yak, or some other site or app, there will always be some way for your kids’ peers and friends to send anonymous messages to each other on the internet. Sarahah encourages positivity and “constructive” criticism, but teens are sensitive. Even if a message is not intended to be negative, teenagers may struggle to find the positivity in a constructive message. Parents should always have an awareness of their teens’ use of apps and the internet. With the capability of anonymous messaging, cyberbullying rates have increased in recent years. Students may even encounter bullies on non-anonymous websites like Facebook, through secret groups created to gossip about fellow students.

What to do

Have trust in your teen, but be thoughtful in considering their moods and behaviors. Does your teen’s increased use in screen time result in a good or bad mood? Your teen will appreciate their space, but pay attention to them. Consider asking what kind of messages they are sending and receiving, encouraging positivity in all aspects of your life. When you model positive behavior with your teen, they’ll find just how effective those messages are. Teach your teen that the strongest relationships in their lives will be built on honesty and encouragement, and those are the friendships they should value.

What do you think? Should parents closely monitor their children’s use of phones to help them avoid negativity?