The do’s and don’ts of class WhatsApp groups

Between my two kids, I belong to around 12 class-related WhatsApp groups. There are the general parent groups, the class mom groups, the class mom and teacher groups, the afternoon activities group, and various playdate groups. About 80% of the time, I value these groups and they’ve saved my bacon several times. I’ve been reminded about dress-up days and advised on the unwritten rules of packed lunches at our new school. The moms have guided me on the fourth-grade maths homework answers when half of us were stumped and I’ve been entertained (and have shed several happy tears) watching my kids perform and do cool things during class that I otherwise wouldn’t have seen (also, my kids are like the Secret Service and don’t tell me much about their school days).

Other times, I feel there are those who might need a lesson in WhatsApp etiquette to prevent the rest of us from getting irritated, angry and frustrated – wanting to mute conversations and exit groups. If I was going to put together a guide on what the rules of class WhatsApp groups should be, it would look something like this:

Watch what you post

It’s tempting to send chain messages, hoaxes and fake giveaways (is British Airways really going to send first-class tickets to everyone who shares their message to 100 of their closest friends?), but you’re going to irritate the moms, and there are other better-suited platforms for this – like your Facebook page where your besties reside. Also, just as you wouldn’t want your child spreading false stories, so if you do share anything, make sure it’s accurate.

Also, unless it’s exceptionally funny and pertinent to your group, don’t share GIFs or memes, and especially don’t send inspirational quotes – this is not the platform, people.

Stay out of politics and religion

Even if your intention is good, there are better places to share political opinions and religious sentiments. Feel free to wish people if they’re celebrating a religious holiday, but if you’re going to do it for one sect, then ensure you do it for all.

Share your knowledge, but don’t shame others

Moms love it when you provide them with the information they’re after, but be down to earth and nice about it. For example, “School closes at 2 pm tomorrow” is very different to “School closes at 2 pm tomorrow – it was in the newsletter yesterday that everyone was supposed to have read”.

Double-check that you’re messaging the correct group

People are mostly forgiving, and you can also delete a message if you sent it to the wrong group, but we all have at least one story of someone who sent an ill-intended, random, TMI, raunchy or rude WhatsApp to an unintended group. Double-check that you have the correct recipients before you send anything (this tip obviously applies to every WhatsApp or text message you send).

Ask away, but don’t be lazy

There are those moms who don’t look at school notices or emails and rely solely on the WhatsApp group for important intel. They are always asking questions, even when the information exists elsewhere for easy access. Try reading the notices instead of hogging the platform. 

Don’t boast

Though you might think otherwise, no one needs to know all about little Jimmy’s outstanding school grades or Casey’s excellent performance at her ballet recital. Remember, the moms on the WhatsApp group are likely not in your circle of your friends, and while these accolades are worthy of being shared, you can do this with your friends and family.

Don’t confuse a class WhatsApp group with Craigslist or Google

There are better platforms to sell your used shoes and furniture unless it’s something that is very specific to the kids and grades, for example, textbooks or soccer kits.

Also, this isn’t the right place to look for the best anti-ageing cream or get an idea for your next winter vacation – that’s what the internet is for, along with your friends and close networks.

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