Teen says popular app enables bullies and is 'dehumanizing'
DAVENPORT (WQAD) -- Minutes after downloading the social media app Sarahah, 16-year-old Donèll Clark says he started getting negative anonymous comments on his phone.
The app launched in 2016, syncs with other popular sites like Snapchat and Instagram, allowing followers to send messages anonymously.
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According to the app website, it's a tool employers can use to receive constructive criticism from their employees. Clark says teens his age are using it to bully others.
"It leads to suicide, depression, self-harm... (the app) is a big concern for me because I just can't let another person go through so much pain," says Clark, an incoming junior at Rock Island High School.
Christine Schmidt says she lost her daughter, Morgan to a similar app three years ago.
"There was an app Ask.FM at that time in 2014. People attacked her anonymously and that went right to, not only her heart but her soul," says Schmidt, creator of It's All Love, Only Love Coalition, an anti-bullying organization.
Clark says the app is already popular among his friends at school, and he knows it's making rounds to other schools as well. Schmidt says parents should take action by staying up today with popular apps.
"Look at (your kids') phones, talk about what kind of apps they have on their phones. They can download whatever they want without you even knowing about it,"
Clark and Morgan were friends around the time of her death, he is a frequent volunteer with her mother's organization.