Haven’t we all fantasized about being someone’s secret crush at some point or other? Hoping that boy who sat on the last bench in class wrote all that beautiful poetry with you as a muse? Or added that girl on Facebook who took your breath away during every debate competition but you got tongue-tied in front of her every single time? Well, this had to be it, right? The day and age of Sarahah and the garb of anonymity it came with allowing users to finally say all those things unsaid.
So this was exciting, and most importantly, easy to use. You simply registered yourself, shared your sarahah link and you’re flooded with “honest” messages. It appealed to the narcissist in us, put us in a world where everything was wholly, completely about us.
And that is perhaps what made it click with the social media junkies of today born and brought up in a generation of selfies and DP ratings (for the uninitiated, this is when your Facebook friends rate your profile picture on a scale of 1- 10 considering the angle of your face, the lighting, the picture perfect location, your pose, the perfect pout, and the thinned out cheekbones). If you’re lucky, these remained declarations of unrequited love or ways in which you could curb your ambition. For the not so lucky ones, the women, the sexual minorities, the religious or caste minorities or even simply the ones not so popular amongst their social groups, this resulted in a spewing of hatred, both unwarranted and highly terrifying.
There is a not-so-thin-line between constructive criticism, criticism, and downright abuse. Along with the fun messages, Sarahah opened a door to the dark, murky underbelly of the virtual world, in which the virtual space is used to threaten and bully and put people in their proper place, the proper place that was thus far limited only to the realms of the user’s mind.
This has gone viral at a time when the world is still reeling from the shock of the Blue Whale Challenge, otherwise known as the suicide game. Teens across the world are losing their lives to this obsession; Sarahah is another such platform waiting to plunge vulnerable persons into the depths of depression and self loathing and taking part in it for “fun”, only propels it further making us a part of a vicious exercise. Cyber bullying and trolling must be fought through a united stand in which we recognize the repercussions of our decisions. While the users of Sarahah have promised to block users who exploit the space, the limit to which they can filter the messages and understand undertones of aggression and hatred no more than scratch the surface.
This is a message being spread by users of social media who have begun to see the complications Sarahah has brought into our lives under the guise of “self development” and we could not agree more.
Please do not contribute to this culture. Even if you are strong enough to withstand a possibly cruel message, know that others may not have your resilience. Participation in this program only perpetuates the threat. Stop it in its tracks, and you truly, honestly may save a life.