LivingBack to school for WhatsApp groups: peace is over

Back to school for WhatsApp groups: peace is over

Surely this summer you have missed those frequent message notices to comment on everything (everything: school and extracurricular) in the school WhatsApp group . Or maybe they have continued to sound? Has it happened like in the back to school ads, which appear every time before? Is the phone already ringing again with messages about the books, cases and miscellaneous material that children have to bring their first day of school? Perhaps the themes are more diverse?

The return to school of WhatsApp groups is imminent . Sooner or later, this channel inevitably comes to life and drags us into a whirlwind of topics, sometimes interesting, even necessary, but most of the time totally dispensable and superfluous, not to say inappropriate. For this reason and because we want peace to last a little longer, we dedicate these lines to what a WhatsApp group at school should be and what it should not become.

A summer without WhatsApp … or not?

If you are one of those who has enjoyed the group’s summer silence , you probably won’t be wanting to start communicating over the phone with the rest of the parents. Are you an asocial being? Of course not, you have simply wanted to dedicate your holidays to other things, you may have even continued talking with some of those members of the group (or many, is it that there is no school birthday in summer?) But without disturbing the rest. And most unheard of, you may have even spoken to them in person! Wanting a break in a WhatsApp group is the most normal thing in the world, since in the end they become a small routine “obligation” from which anyone could want to disconnect.

If you are one of those who hold back even though you would have liked to comment on something in the school group , keep going. It’s good to “unhook” and the “monkey” will probably only last the first week. Don’t you feel a certain release now that we’ve forgotten a bit about that active group for ten months out of the year? And if it is your son or daughter who insists you to put any little thing in the group (a greeting, a vacation photo, a recording, some emojis …), propose to see one of their friends soon (live and on direct) is sure to calm those desires. And by the way, that friendship is rekindled, that adults also know much better a meeting with our friends-classmates from school-institute-university-work … than virtual conversations through mobile phones.

If you are one of those who has continued to write in the group , finally, think about those I just mentioned, as you can relieve those who want a little peace and those who are trying. Maybe it’s time to slow down. It is not necessary to say good morning, wish a good weekend throughout the summer or ask from time to time “Eoooo … What is it that you are so quiet?”.

Nor is it possible to share vacation photos at all hours (be careful, this applies to any WhatsApp group). This summer break will surely make all the members of the group recharge their batteries and even take it, already in September, with more enthusiasm and for what really matters.

Hooked on the phone, hooked on WhatsApp

The subject of this “addiction” to instant messages may seem exaggerated, but it is not a joke and after all it is a manifestation of the hook that many people have for their mobile phone.

In general, there is no need to worry, but psychology experts say that misuse of the instant messaging application has its risks and can affect the lives of people who immerse themselves in it.

In Spain, more than 42% of users affirm that they are continuously aware of the instant messages they receive on their mobile, according to the barometer of the Sociological Research Center (CIS).

Lack of sleep, misunderstandings, disinterest in real life, serious interference in everyday life (studies or work …) are some of the most serious consequences in extreme cases (which, by the way, increasingly affect adolescents) of the misuse of WhatsApp. You may be thinking that I am exaggerating when talking about these harmful effects, and I am not saying that being aware and active in the school group (and in any other) is a symptom of any problem, but they are increasingly widespread.

Okay, we don’t have any addictions, but have we thought about the time we spend on mobile for these issues per day? And another thing that perhaps we have not stopped to think enough: being hooked on the mobile all day will make our children see it as something normal and they will follow in our footsteps.

And that, potentially, is a perfect medium to communicate, if we do it rationally, with common sense: it is cheap, fast, almost universal. So how do you apply that common sense to the school WhatsApp group? How far have we come, that even the schools themselves have to put limits on the use of this medium or express themselves about it?

How to use the school’s WhatsApp group correctly

We don’t want school instant messaging groups to become the world’s worst invention. In every WhatsApp group there are basic rules of good operation and they are not always the same, since it is not the same to communicate with our co-workers (where our bosses may even be included) than with our lifelong friends or with neighbors, family … There are also rules for the proper use of WhatsApp at school and now that it seems that they are beginning to cheer up again, it is not wrong to comment on those basic rules.

  • Don’t be your children’s secretary . Often they will forget to write down homework or exam dates, content that goes into the exam, they will forget their books … If we solve everything via WhatsApp, they will not learn to be responsible and autonomous. It is logical that from time to time it happens to us and you can also choose a parent with whom you have more confidence to solve the issue and not talk to the whole group. But if the forgetfulness continues to happen, it is advisable to speak with the teacher to find a solution or improvement in this matter. If the child gets used to having everything done for them every day, they will be unable to function on their own when we are not there. This, as strange as it may seem, I usually see in some (fortunately few) cases when it is already late enough to leave them that portion of responsibility: when they enter the institute and are accustomed to continuous supervision and help to solve their forgetfulness or their mistakes…
  • Don’t do the child’s homework through the group. Do not ask doubts about the homework, the answer can be found by other means and, if it is not known, it is not understood or it is not obtained, the child could explain to the teacher the next day the difficulties that he has encountered to leave that answer in White.
  • Do not answer the questions posed in the group if you have nothing to contribute. When you ask about lost clothes, dates of activities … it is not necessary for 20 people to say “I don’t know”, “We don’t have it” … It is understood that if we do not answer it is because we do not saturate with messages and because we cannot be useful.
  • Utility, that is the key to ensuring that the school’s WhatsApp group works well. It should be used to solve doubts that affect the whole class, to remember important dates, to agree on how this year’s costume or gift for the teacher will be, plan an after-school event, end-of-year dinner … You have to be constructive , positive and non-destructive.
  • Do not ask in the group any question that a Google search will solve for you. If you have internet to use the group, you also have a connection for the browser and investigate what time the mall opens or when the Emoji movie is released.
  • Do not criticize, insult, threaten or bring sensitive questions to the group , whether they refer to the teachers, other parents at school or anyone. In this way, in addition, we will avoid misunderstandings that written communication entails. Remember that for speaking badly of the teacher in a group you may receive a fine, since the statements we make through this medium leave a mark and serve to take legal measures if necessary, in the same way that happens with communications through of social networks. In general, it can be said that you do not include anything in the group that you would not say to the face of the person in question. Always keep respect and forms.
Any criticism can be raised in a civilized way if we want it to be constructive. Any questions, comments, disagreements that we have with the teachers, it is better to discuss it with them.
  • Avoid gossip, gossip, jokes, or irrelevant information. Remember: the group was created as a useful tool for school and school issues, not about that notorious case of separation, to advertise a new restaurant, to talk about football or make jokes about the latest Donald Trump controversy. .
  • Be understanding with those who do not want to participate in the group or for some reason have left it (ask yourself, why has he done it, has something bothered him? Or better, ask him in person). Participating in this communication channel is not an obligation and there are other ways to communicate with that person when necessary, so that they are not excluded from certain activities or news …
  • Do not send family, private, or other children’s photos. It seems that sometimes the WhatsApp of the family (poor people, they have a lot to put up with) is confused with that of the school. As much as we want to share the communion of the eldest son or the beach holidays, it is not something that concerns the whole class.
  • Communicate privately with a member of the group if you are going to address him alone . It is not necessary for the other components to find out about a conversation that only concerns two people. And, most importantly, you don’t need to disturb the rest.
  • Do not leave the mobile phone to your child to communicate through this group, he can write or record inconvenient things or make another misuse of the communication channel (send images, message to a single component …). The phone is not a toy for the little ones either (who end up sending messages by mistake, look where, to the WhatsApp group at school).
  • Do not make subgroups , you will avoid misunderstandings and mistakes since it is very common to confuse the group in which we write or to which we send photos …
  • Be restrained with the photos or videos you send of that field trip, birthday or class meeting. If each member of the group sends 30 photos, imagine shaking the memory of the mobile. It is worth selecting the best images (why send those blurry or dark in which nothing is distinguished?), The ones that nobody has sent before (often the same photo is repeated five times) and even send individually to the parent or mother the photo if her son appears as the protagonist in it.
  • It is not worth any time. It is convenient to set time limits to reduce this participation. Although in the end, there will always be someone who does not see it strange to put messages at 12 at night or at 6 in the morning, so we can politely tell them that he has woken us up, that there are those who do not silence the group …

You, have you committed any of these “sins” in the WhatsApp groups at school ? Have you witnessed them? Have you ever plucked up the courage to say something to people who break these unwritten rules? It is complicated, since most of the time you do not have enough confidence, and what we would do with friends or family we keep silent in the case of other parents in this type of group.

In any case, we hope the school’s WhatsApp group remains quiet for a couple more weeks , or are you already looking forward to it getting started? Hopefully, when it is activated, it will serve for really useful issues and, why not, fun for our children, such as some interesting excursion that brings the children of the class together again beyond the school environment and that makes them (us) resume with more desire the almost always difficult return to school .

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