Concerns raised that app could lead to bullying - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Concerns raised that app could lead to bullying

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A warning about a popular anonymous messaging app that some say could lead to bullying between kids. (WFSB) A warning about a popular anonymous messaging app that some say could lead to bullying between kids. (WFSB)
HAMDEN, CT (WFSB) -

Parents are being warned about a new messaging app that is gaining popularity and could be causing online bullying.

The app called Sarahah allows the user to send messages to someone anonymously. Experts warn, because of that anonymity, it can cause users to post some pretty hurtful comments.  

Under the app, a user creates a profile, which anyone can visit.  According to the developers, Sarahah helps the user in discovering their strengths and areas for improvement by receiving honest feedback from employees and their friends in a private manner.

While some said the app allows for constructive criticism, others argue it's anonymity, and the fact that users can't respond to the messages, opens the door to bullying.

"As parents and educators we're always concerned about that vail of anonymity and the consequences and the implications,” Katie Place, who is an assistant professor of strategic communication at Quinnipiac University, said.

Place said when it comes to messaging on social media apps, her message to her own kids or her students is the same.

“Make sure you communicate in a way that's respectful, passes that gut check, would you want whether its anonymous or non-anonymous to be, could you go home and tell mom and dad about it, or would you mind if it was be being broadcast on the front page of the news,” Place said.

Developers have been trying to make improvements and now there is an option for the user to choose their audience. A user can now control who they receive messages from. 

The app is free and anyone can download it. Parents were advised that they might want to check their kids' phones. That's because the app is rated for ages 17 and over, thanks to unrestricted web access, profanity, and crude humor.

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