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Psychologist calls anonymous feedback apps "dangerous for teenagers"

Police warn parents to monitor teenager's cellphone apps

The anonymous feedback app called Sarahah has millions of users. It's especially popular among teenagers. Critics worry it's becoming a breeding ground for bullies who can comment on posts without their names attached.

A Cherokee County mother contacted the ABC3340 News i-Team after her daughter received nasty comments which included: "We wish you were dead, nobody likes you." The mother was told by the school system that they were unable to do anything because the app has anonymous comments and the communications were off campus. The Cherokee County Sheriff has assured us he will look into the allegations. The parent advises others to look at their children's cellphones and delete the app.

Sarahah launched last November. Developed in Saudi Arabia for feedback in the corporate world, Sarahah means "honesty" in Arabic. It's free and simple to use: register a name and password, share your profile link on Snapchat or Instagram, and get anonymous feedback.

UAB Clinical Psychologist Josh Klapow,Ph.D says teens are especially vulnerable because they crave feedback and this opens the door for some scary stuff including emotional abuse and cyberstalking.

A parent's best defense is to stay on top of technology and find out what is on their children's cellphones. "It's your job to protect them, not be their friend," advises Klapow.

It's also advised that you have unfettered access to your child's social media accounts and perform random spot checks of their phones. "You don't need a search warrant, you pay for the phone," says Helena Police Chief Pete Folmar. He says if communications become harassing or threatening call your local police departments.


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