Why Schools Should NEVER Use WhatsApp To Engage Parents
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Instant messaging apps like Whatsapp have become an integral part of our daily communication with friends and family. With over 2 billion active users globally, Whatsapp is now the most used messaging platform and schools adopting it.
Schools must leverage digital technology to stay competitive especially during this COVID19 pandemic. One of the many digital tools that schools are adopting is Whatsapp. Some schools are using Whatsapp parent-teacher communication, sending out announcements and reports to parents.
Although Whatsapp may seem like a good communication tool for schools, its disadvantages far outweighs its benefits and may even be dangerous for schools to use Whatsapp as a school communication tool to connect with parents.
Why is Whatsapp bad for schools?
I am not saying that Whatsapp is not a great communication tool, it is, but Whatsapp was designed to make personal communication seamless. Using Whatsapp for the communication needs of big organizations such as schools can be daunting to manage and presents several security risks.
Here are some reasons why schools should never use Whatsapp for school communication.
When a Whatsapp school group is created, all the numbers of the group members can be accessed by any group member as seen below. The phone numbers of parents can be picked up and made accessible to 3rd parties. Some group members can also use the phone numbers to create another group for unrelated purposes. This poses a high risk to privacy and security and schools need to avoid it.
Lack of control and supervision
Most Whatsapp school groups start off as a useful school communication tool for checking homework details, announcements etc but over time it gets cluttered with unrelated messages, memes, gifs.
Group administrators are not able to review various unrelated posts before they are added to the group chat. These unrelated messages become a distraction and drown out the important messages that need the attention of parents and students.
Unavailability of threads
Schools have different types of posts they send out to parents and students. All conversations about these different types of posts happen in the group chat, this makes it cluttered and difficult to find or reference certain messages.
Messages or conversations should be grouped into different threads, but this cannot be done in a Whatsapp school group.
Difficult to manage
To make sure relevant messages are sent to parents, schools segment parents by creating different Whatsapp groups based on the class or grade of their children. This helps in sending the right messages to the right parents, but with this approach, schools end up with multiple groups.
This is even made worse when there are two or multiple classes per each grade. Having to manage multiple whatsapp groups can be a daunting task and may lead to some school Whatapp groups missing out on key information.
Which school communication tool should schools use?
The best school communication tool is one that offers control, privacy, ease of use and helps promote the brand of the school. For a great school communication experience, some schools create their own custom communication apps.
Creating a custom mobile app can be an expensive investment for many schools, but schools have another option, SmartSapp Connected Community.
SmartSapp Connected Community is a mobile application designed to foster secure and seamless school communication. It allows schools to communicate with parents. Teachers can communicate with the parents of students, send out announcements and review messages from parents before they are added to the chat channel.
Why Use SmartSapp Connected Community
| | SmartSapp |Whatsapp | | :------------- | :----------: | :-----------: | | Numbers are hidden from group members and 3rd parties | | | | Messages are reviewed and approved before added to chat channel | | | | Messages can be grouped into threads| | | | Real time messaging | | | | Messages can be sent to only a specific group of parents eg: Parents of students in grade 2 | | |
Announcement sent to specific group of parents Announcements and messages can be sent to a specific group of parents like sending a message to only the parents of children in grade 2.
Message review and approval Messages and comments are reviewed and approved by the school communication administrator before they are shown in the school communication channel.
Messages with threads Messages are grouped into threads which makes sure context is not lost. This also makes it easy to find and reference old announcements and messages.
SmartSapp provides the best privacy and usability features for all your school communication needs. Make your school communication secure and seamless with SmartSapp. Drop your school Whatsapp group and sign up on SmartSapp today.