17 things you know if you're part of a school WhatsApp group
1. The school WhatsApp group starts off as a useful tool for checking homework details, arranging group playdates and organising end-of-term teacher gifts, but soon descends into idle chatter about whether CBeebies’ Mr Bloom or Andy is more fanciable and whether 5pm is too early to open the prosecco. One hundred and seventy three messages later, and you’ve completely forgotten what the original question was.
2. You become slightly neurotic about checking your ticks, waiting for them to turn from grey (message delivered) to blue (message read). Is everyone ignoring you, or are they just busy?
3. And it’s even worse when the ticks turn blue but no one answers. Especially when you then check who’s online and see that it’s pretty much everyone. Was it something you said?
4. When a message comes in, you sort of want to know what it’s about, but you can’t really be bothered to reply. To avoid the two blue ticks giving you away, you try to work out what it says from the message preview, but despite your best efforts, you just have to open it up and see what they’re gossiping about. Willpower? What’s that, then?
5. Member of multiple groups? Better double-check you know who you’re messaging. You’ll never live down the shame of ranting about little Jimmy’s appalling playdate behaviour to your Best Friends’ group, only to realise you’ve mistakenly sent the message to the whole class – including Jimmy’s mum. Why oh why doesn’t WhatsApp have a delete function?
6. Some people are only capable of writing in capitals, so all their messages come across as if they’re yelling at you – and frankly, you have enough of that from your kids.
7. There’s always one member who never seems to sleep – and she obviously assumes no one else does, either, which is why she’s forever messaging at 2am, oblivious to the fact that most normal people are sparko. If only you were better at remembering to put your phone on flight mode overnight… Yawn.
8. Beware of the teacher’s pet mummy who’s silently policing your chats for rants about your child’s school/teacher/headteacher and feeding back to the powers that be. Rule of thumb: if you’ve got a complaint, make it in person to avoid being grassed up.
9. Suffering from a serious case of ping overload, you debate leaving the group, but there’s no way of doing it subtly without everyone receiving an ‘X has left this chat’ alert. Cue 17 ‘You OK hun?’ messages from nosy – oops, no, concerned – group members.
10. Instead, you hit the mute button, but you know you’re only delaying the inevitable. Next time you pick up your phone, you’ll have eleventy billion unread messages and won’t have the faintest idea what the original conversation was about.
11. When someone adds an unknown number to the group, it triggers an attack of paranoia. Is it someone new to the school, someone who’s blocked you (what for?) or an undercover spy?
12. You don’t understand how some people manage to reply to every message within 13.6 seconds. Don’t they have children to look after?
13. You’ve never quite got round to changing your notification tone from the default ‘bing!’ – the same as the rest of the world – meaning you’re constantly checking your messages only to realise that actually, it wasn’t your phone after all.
14. You can’t work out why you have pictures of other people’s children’s grazed knees, new haircuts and Star of the Week certificates in your camera roll, until you realise that every photo shared in the group is being saved to your phone. So that’s where all your memory has gone.
15. There are so many splinter groups that even the splinter groups have splinter groups. There’s one about sports day, one about homework, one about what next year’s teacher is like… It’s enough to make your head spin.
16. Someone ‘helpfully’ screenshots every single email and text from the school and posts it in the WhatsApp group, just in case anyone missed them. Er, hello? If you’re checking WhatsApp, chances are you’ve checked your emails, too.
17. Exercise caution if you’re part of the Friday night WhatsApp chat, when all inhibitions are lost at the bottom of a wine glass (or four). If World War III is going to break out, you can bet it’ll be at the end of the week when everyone is ‘tired and emotional.’ Post at your own risk!