CLEVELAND– Law enforcement officials across the country are warning parents about two new phone apps that are popular with teens.
Sarahah is described as a way to “get honest feedback from your coworkers and friends,” while Yellow is “a new social media to meet new friends and have fun with them.”
Instead of leaving “constructive feedback,” teens are using Sarahah’s anonymity for cyber bullying. Its name means “honesty” in Arabic and it was developed as a way for employees to give comments to their bosses.
“My friends and I have all received hurtful messages. This app is just a way for people to bully people without any consequence because you can’t even message them back. It’s a way to hide from people you obviously have a problem with and attack them without being able to defend themselves,” one reviewer on the iTunes Store said.
“I’m a mother and I would never let my child set up an acct. (sic) for this,” another user wrote.
Yellow lets its users “match” with strangers by swiping. It’s being all the “Tinder for kids.”
But police departments in Kansas, Michigan and even New Zealand have a warning. There is no age verification for the app. It also provides an easy way to share information and photos that could be inappropriate.
Last month, a 41-year-old Idaho man was arrested in a child pornography case tied to the Yellow app. An official with the state’s Internet Crimes Against Children Unit said the registered sex offender had an online relationship with a 12-year-old girl.
“They were communicating on the social networking app Yellow and text messaging,” said investigator Paul Farina. “He was grooming her, posting as a 14-year-old, and she fell for him.”