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Saharhah App

What is it?

Sarahah.com is a free app that syncs up to Snapchat and other social media.  It allows people to anonymously share things online they probably would never share face to face.  All you need are some basic personal details and you are free to use the un-monitored platform as you wish.

Sarahah came out originally in February earlier this year in the Middle East and was incredibly popular there and Northern parts of Africa. From there it grew into a more global App, and has now even become an increasingly popular app for both Northern America and European companies.

It originated from an Arabic website but has now been fully translated into English and has been developed into an app so it can link to all forms of Social Media.  Users are currently using Snapchat to post their Sarahah pages in their Snapchat story and encourage people to anonymously roast (Slate, verbally bash a person) or compliment them.  These anonymous messages can then put up the anonymous messages up on Snapchat and react/show others what they received from said anonymous people.

Who uses it and why?

Sarahah is popular with younger teens even though the app is recommended for age 17+ according to the App Store.  This app is popular probably due to its anonymity.  Some people online like the idea of being able to write an anonymous post to get out any pent up frustration towards a person or to critique a person they don’t get along with.

The App was originally developed a business tool and was intended for people to talk to their boss or give their bosses anonymous feedback on how they feel things are going within a working environment and give constructive criticism

How is it used now?

In essence, Sarahah is used as an anonymous way of telling people, be them colleagues, friends or family, what you really think about them without any means or way (unless you give a specific indication it’s you) of identification.

As with most social networking it is open to abuse and misuse.  This app enables people online to bully others and has the capacity to facilitate grooming online.

Why is it used?

Much like 4Chan, Reddit or YouTube it is a way for people to have anonymity if they want to. Something about a life without names or faces online can attract difficult and cruel people who would attack or compliment people with the page and remain anonymous without facing repercussions. If a person were to ask for compliments, they might use Sarahah as a way to get those compliments but with the risk of them getting attacked or roasted.

Similar things to this?

Ask.FM was a popular app back in 2013 and many people used it as a form of speaking to random people online and asking them random questions for a small laughter with friends, it became popular in the very early months of 2015 and since then, like many apps of this kind, has dwindled in popularity.

Yik-Yak is still a popular app that allows people to post things anonymously and other people within that area to see it. You can also search up a certain place and see the ‘Yaks’ that come from it, this too has the capacity to be aimed towards a certain person, people or company as a form of online bullying.

Reducing the risk of inappropriate contact:

  • Keep personal details private. If you must use this app, create a non descript username.
  • Avoid re-posting comments on other social media platforms.
  • Seek help or talk to a trusted adult if you see something that has upset you.
  • Avoid adding to or making comments on posts that have been made by other people online.
  • Secure your friend lists on all social media platforms.
  • Only be friends online with people you would be friends with in the real world.
  • Ideally, avoid using this app altogether or expect to be messaged with comments that you may find upsetting or offensive.

News articles from within this month:

 

Parents that REALLY need the help with Music.ly, Live.ly and Roblox

We are meeting an increasing number of parents through our Gooseberry Planet Parent Workshops and getting independent enquiries from Parents, wanting to know more about Gooseberry Planet.  More and more are asking why their child is not using Gooseberry Planet in school as part of their Online Safety education and how they can best support their child and improve their own level of digital literacy.

This parental interest along with an increasing number of media coverage highlighting the dangers of supposedly child friendly apps, is starting to show a genuine awakening of a key group of stakeholders in a child’s education.  It also highlights the need for Online Safety education for all.

You will be familiar I am sure with music.ly, live.ly and now Roblox and the dangers that these pose to all children, not just those who we deem as being the most vulnerable.  I know from my own experiences, how challenging it is to say informed of the latest online trends, threats and dangers.  Most recently, What’s App has found its way back into the media spotlight for all of the wrong reasons.  Parents are struggling and 64% are looking to schools to help them.  There of course is an argument to be made over who has responsibility to educate children, parents and teachers on Online Safety but the fact that parents are approaching schools is a very significant signal that they need help.

Are you equipped with the right information as a school to give your parents? Do you have the resources to offer your parents? Do you wish that you had the most up to date information to share with them, but just don’t have the time?

Have you seen Kayleigh’s love story yet? Or the interview from the mother on This Morning, both are naturally upsetting and should warn us all about the all too realistic consequences of facing online dangers. This type of online behaviour is happening right now to someone online.  Think it could never happen to you or someone that you know, love and care for?  Think again.  We are all at risk when we go online.

Being a Mum I am challenged daily with my children being online, in the past my own lack of education about the internet, has put my own children at risk, which is one of reasons that motivated and prompted me to start Gooseberry Planet.  We need to cautious, but we also need to embrace being online.  To help achieve this we need to educate our children and empower them to take responsibility for their actions.  We can achieve this through modelling safe online behaviour ourselves, taking responsibility for our own actions and internet usage and most importantly create boundaries and opportunities for open dialogue.

Our Parent Workshops are great for those who attend, but what about the other parents that REALLY need the help?  Are you confident that enough is being done in your school to support children, parents and teachers?

We are currently developing a new Parent platform as part of our extensive Gooseberry Planet world. Our new system will send each registered Parent the minute the child finishes a Gooseberry Planet scenario along with the response that has been given by the child. It is a quick and effective way of communicating with your parents, the knowledge that their child has on a particular topic within Gooseberry Planet.  We also support this feedback with parent friendly resources to help keep the conversation going at home, helping to create boundaries that have been lost or blurred with an ever increasing amount of internet usage.

We are the only Online Safety programme that offers 12 planned and structured weeks of teaching and learning activities about Online safety, to each and every child between the ages of 5-13 years in each and every year of their primary school education.  We are using technology to teach technology, which is kept up to date in response to the latest content, trends and curriculum requirements.  We create new content daily in response too new and emerging threats.  With so many apps and games emerging from the app stores, it is our job to keep you updated.  Also all of our teaching resources comply with the latest PSHE 2017 curriculum.  These were extremely important updates as the new curriculum references Online Safety specifically.

It is an impossible task to ask your teachers know about them all or spend the time to work out what they all do or how they are connected.  Some teachers are even challenged with their own internet usage and digital literacy.  We have done the work for you and are proud to offer lessons on Online Gaming, Click Jacking, webcams etc. as well as the more common subject themes of Online Bullying and People Online.

Let us help you to raise awareness and reduce the risk to your children, parents and teachers online.  Simple and effective changes in behaviour can make a difference for us all, but most importantly can and do help our children respond safely, behave responsibly and begin to enjoy their digital life as digital citizens online.

A Case Study on Sexting

It can be a challenge when you get a call from a parent, who is disappointed with the way the school has responded to a situation.  In some cases, a situation involving a specific safeguarding issue.

In light of the updated statutory requirements in ‘Keeping children safe in education 2016’, have you as a school reviewed and updated your safeguarding policies and procedures? Do all of your staff know how to respond to a safeguarding incident involving a child and their peers?

Specific safeguarding issues

The taking and sharing of sexual imagery amongst children forms part of ‘Sexting’, which is a specific safeguarding issue.  This online behaviour is a concern amongst our children and young adults. Knowing how to respond to such an incident is a crucial part of an effective safeguarding approach.

The law

The law states that it is an illegal offence to take, store and share sexual images online, under the age of 18.  To help support schools in responding to such incidents, there are non-statutory guidelines available that offer advice on how to address the issue of ‘Sexting’.

The following is a real incident which occurred.  It is an incident that could happen to any child or young adult, in any school, at any time.  How would you respond?

The incident

A sexual image has been taken by a 15 year old girl, she has sent it to a male friend of the same age.  He shares the image with friends online.

Would your colleagues, know how to respond accordingly to protect the safety and welfare of the children?

The response

During an initial phone conversation with the parent of the boy following the incident, they realised that there were several failings in school’s response.

  • When asked, the member of staff did not know the school’s procedures for dealing with this safeguarding issue
  • The school did not interview the boy only the girl who sent the sexual image
  • It took over 24 hours for the school to come back to the parent with a plan of action
  • There was a lack of support for both the child and parent
  • The Police were called without all of the facts

Key questions

  • Has your Safeguarding or Child Protection policy been reviewed and updated since the release of the statutory requirements ‘Keeping children safe in education 2016’?
  • Are all school staff trained to recognise and respond accordingly to an issue of safeguarding and know who the DSL is?
  • How effective is your teaching of Online Safeguarding issues for children, teachers and parents?
  • How do we equip children and young adults with the skills to make safe choices online?

This type of issue could happen in any school.  Be prepared, by providing your students, teachers and parents with a robust, planned and proactive approach to Online Safeguarding.