Are Parent Whatsapp Groups Harming Your School?


Are Parent Whatsapp Groups Harming Your School?

There is a surprising recent trend in many schools in India to use WhatsApp groups to communicate with parents.

Although free and easy to setup, it maybe costing the school in numerous ways. School leaders need to consider the following implications before embracing this technological trend.

  • Lack of control
    School leaders have little or no control over the conversations in these Whatsapp groups. They are very difficult to monitor and there is hardly any control over what gets posted on them.
  • Lack of privacy
    Most parents do not want the photos and videos of their child shared with everyone in a group. Casualness towards privacy of children is a serious issue in India. Progressive school leaders have a responsibility towards this.
  • No content approval system
    School leaders have no way of approving what gets shared on the whatsapp groups. The quality of the content is dependent on the individual teacher’s judgment, intentions and skills.
  • Mobile numbers aren’t private
    The mobile numbers of all members of a Whatsapp group are visible to each other, allowing phone calls and private messaging to individuals. Often teachers and parents get disturbed (and sometimes even harassed) at odd hours. There have also been cases of groups of parents ganging up against a teacher or the school.
  • Stress on students
  • When parents see photos and videos of other students doing activities, they tend to compare their child with others, creating direct and indirect stress on their children.
  • Effort of teachers tend to be judged
  • Teachers can often be the target of parent judgements, especially when a single parent tries to influence other parents against the teacher.

Possible solution

Banning Whatsapp groups in your school may not really work, as parents create them without the knowledge of the school. What schools need to do is provide a compelling alternative to parents. The need for a parent communication and parent engagement platform is genuine.

School leaders need to consider other smartphone apps in the market, tailor made to resolve all or most of the issues above. A platform that lets schools share and showcase student learning with parents privately.

Originally published at lernio.in.

About the Author
Author: Siddhartha KapoorWebsite: http://www.lernio.in
Siddhartha is a thought leader in branding and marketing of schools, especially in the era of social media and technology. Siddhartha Kapoor has been an educationist since the last 14 years. He has been running his family owned K12 school, Vidyatree Modern World College, which implements the IB in the primary school and ICSE/ISC in senior school. Siddhartha has also been the Chairman of North India & Nepal Network of IB PYP Schools for 2013-2015. He is currently busy with his new EduTech startup LERNIO, which is a smartphone app for K12 schools that helps schools share and celebrate students learning to drive parent engagement, trust in the school and enhance the reputation of the school.

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