Sarahah app: Brutally honest, or cyber bullying?

Posted at 6:52 PM, Aug 08, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-08 20:46:14-04

It's called Sarahah, and it's the latest app some are sharing for the trendy appeal, while others worry about cyber bullying.

Brandon Cordes, 35, is a stand-up comedian who has downloaded the app. He's used to hecklers to his face. Now, with Sarahah, people can heckle- or compliment-anonymously.

"With hecklers, it's usually someone who is drunk or thinks they're funny, so you can usually shoo it off. When it comes to no face, we can see how the internet can be. So it's terrifying," Cordes says.

In a nutshell, here's how it works. Users download the app to their phone or sign up for an account online. They then share a link to their Sarahah account to social media, and wait for the comments to come in. The name, is Arabic for "honesty" and was the creation of a Saudi developer who made it for workplace feedback. Parent worry about the possibility for much worse.

"It started out with a good purpose. So people can expose bosses mistreating certain employees, but when it goes into the wrong hands it goes from something positive to something negative, like cyberbullying," Rosanna Pastor, a mom says.

Jon Larsen, a systems engineer and tech expert with AIM Institute in Omaha says if you want to protect your kids from possible bullies, there are ways to watch their phone.

"Set their phones up for their kids where they use a central account. That's the only account that can install applications, but they don't give the kids the password, but being a child and smart, they can create their own accounts and install apps," Larsen said.

Best bet, Larsen says, talk to you kids just as you would about real life bullies.

As for Cordes, he says all of his comments have been mostly positive, besides a couple of dirty jokes from friends. For now, the negativity is left to trolls and hecklers in his comedy shows.