While a Whatsapp group maybe very useful for sharing important information that can be very helpful – sometimes essential – for busy parents, it has increasingly been noticed that these groups seem to have become breeding grounds for gossip, Chinese whispers and criticism. We are noticing more and more that a personal experience of a child or a staff member has become fodder for public comment and this has extended to even the very private medical information of children being openly discussed on parent groups. There’s a broader societal issue here. This is all very new to us adults. We must reflect on the example we’re setting. We talk about what our children are doing online, but we don’t reflect on our own behaviour; we don’t have an agreed etiquette. We would like all parents , especially those in primary school to do some reflection on the unchecked chatter and quite often the vilifying of staff members in the parents’ whatsapp groups over the past year and ask yourself if that is truly helping you or rather creating unwanted stress. As a school, we would like you to reach out to the teachers or to Ms. LiseAnn ( in more urgent cases ) rather than allow what could be one parent’s opinion or perspective or misinterpretation in many cases, cloud the perspectives of all the rest. Let us try not to micromanage the children but have more faith in their capacity for resilience and courage. While we continue to encourage you to use emails as the official channels for communication, we would like to offer some useful guidelines for the ethical use of whatsapp groups should parents still feel the need for them.
Groups can be used to share :
– Reminders about deadlines, school activities, and events.
– Questions about school activities or special events e.g. what date the science project is due in, uniform or non-uniform day, when the deadline to pay for something is, etc.
– Sharing important information already posted in a circular to help reach more parents e.g. alerts about sickness, school policies, etc.
– Sharing information which can be useful to the other parents in the group e.g. where to buy costumes for dressing up days, ideas for projects, etc.
– Foster a sense of community
– Sharing relevant community notices e.g. road closures or new traffic lights in the local area, etc.
We STRONGLY discourage the use of the groups to:
– Voice grievances.
– Share personal problems.
– Point out another child’s behaviour.
– Discuss the work of teachers: if a parent has a concern regarding the teacher, that parent should speak with him or her directly.
– Raise individual concerns or complaints: if a parent has a particular concern or complaint regarding the School or any member of the Staff, that issue should be raised directly with the School .
– Share political or religious posts or discussions.