From going down to memory lane and bantering with friends for a few months and then exchanging only ‘Good morning’ messages, birthday and festival wishes and perhaps some forwards a few months later, Whatsapp groups are what fuel our days. Whatsapp groups have become ubiquitous for anyone who has or ever had a common activity with a bunch of other people. While we turn to the forwards for some fun from these friendly groups, my daily dose of entertainment as well as minor irritation is from the school whatsapp groups for parents. Here is what I have discovered.
- Circulars sent by school aren’t supposed to be read. The questions have to asked and re-asked and answered on the whatsapp group. What time, what dress, which colours, when, how, what are other parents doing it?
- Entrepreneurs may just start adding photos of all that they have on sale. I once had a group where hundreds of pictures of dresses, kurtas and saris were put up on the group in one go!
- If there is a linguistic majority in the group, for example in mine it is Gujrati, you may start seeing forwards in Gujrati which everyone else is clueless about!
- At home, you can feed biscuits and cakes to your child, but God help the child if the school happens to serve noodles or French fries once in a blue moon. Ofcourse, whatsapp is where you have a full-blown discussion on if sandwiches, noodles or pasta should be boycotted from being served and where kids should be served only nutritious food such as dal-rice, and parathas! Eek, to think I can’t survive without bhelpuri once a week! And discussions on food can get even more polemical than a discussion between the Left and Right wings.
- Whatsapp groups are for important discussions between parents to rake up issues with the school. Like for example, if 2 kids get indigestion in class, the school food must be blamed. Although everyone else was fine really. If the teacher has scolded a child, it is a matter of discussion. Hello, breaking news: teachers are meant to reprimand and correct!
- If teachers don’t feed the child along with the 20 others, she is irresponsible. Not the parents, who haven’t been able to teach the child to eat on her own!
- What did they learn at school, what is for homework, when is it to be submitted, what was served for food, have the kids left school are questions to be answered even before the kid reaches home. EVERYDAY.
- There are dads on the school group. So “Mom’s please help”, “Mom’s let’s meet” makes them feel really left out. Do think of their feelings ladies!
While I am no expert on whatsapp etiquette, as parents, we need to consider that while whatsapp is a great tool to broadcast information, let us think if the discussion really warrants inputs of a hundred others or if the information can be found in the school circular or if your child can tell you. Attending orientations, checking circulars and keeping them carefully, are responsibilities for parents, and we need to be cognizant that in this stream of information, the important points do not get buried. Ofcourse, many a day has been saved when a responsible parent pings a reminder to send a puzzle on puzzle day (which is a puzzle to me!- A puzzle day – really?!) or water logging during rains in Mumbai has rendered the transport shut or if the school has announced a special holiday! Social interactions are great as well by all means, but if it is a group meant for a purpose, let us stick to it.
Have you had any hilarious discussions in your school whatsapp groups?