Teacher warns parents about class WhatsApp groups – and you might agree as to why
I have to say, I find the class WhatsApp groups very handy.
Unsure of which day is PE day again? Pop a text in the group and you'll have a reply within seconds. Need to send a party invite? Good, old WhatsApp again. Wondering if your child was, in fact, telling the truth about there being no homework today? One quick text to the group, and voila‚ there's your answer.
I am willing to admit, though, that there are times when your head is spinning with the sheer amount of ping! notifications when certain topics are up for discussion in the group, or when everyone starts weighing in on something in real-time.
However, it had never occurred to me that the parents' WhatsApp group chats could be in any way problematic to the kids.
Recently, a concerned headteacher in the UK went out and warned parents to avoid class WhatsApp groups, saying they could be bad for children's development as they encourage 'micromanaging'.
The London-based headteacher said she felt that parents 'micromanaging' their kids leads to not letting them learn to think for themselves.
Jane Lunnon, who is head of Wimbledon High School in southwest London, advised parents to avoid turning to WhatsApp to check when kids need their PE kit and when homework is due.
In a message to parents, Lunnon touched on the perils of parent WhatsApp chats, saying:
"As parents, we could all probably still learn a thing or two about backing off from micromanaging our children’s lives, from smoothing their paths and fighting their battles. We know how tempting it is – but what is that teaching our children? That they can’t manage their own lives? That problems can only be solved by grown-ups?"
Maybe she has a point, no?
"Stay off the parents’ WhatsApp chat ... Don’t join the group. Embrace FOMO (fear of missing out) and let everyone else work themselves into a frenzy. What’s the worst that could happen," Lunnon wrote.
However, it is important to point out that Lunnon advised secondary school should be the cut-off point for parents using class WhatsApp groups to prompt their kids, and urged that, from the age of 11, it should be up to the child to organise their day-to-day lives. If they forget something, they learn to deal with the consequences.
What do you think of the headteacher's message, mums? Are you in a class WhatsApp group? Do you think they're frustrating or a lifesaver?