Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social networking sites are a godsend to those who want to get in touch and know what is going on with their friends or relatives. But like many things that people are passionate about, there are detractors to social networking. We all use Whatsapp and FB groups to be updated about our kids school activities and coordinating on various projects etc.
It turns out that class WhatsApp groups are used for four main purposes: communicating with parents of students; nurturing the social atmosphere ; creating dialogue and encouraging sharing among students and parents. Nevertheless, there are also challenges and problems. Firstly, there is the technical difficulty that not all parents have WhatsApp installed on their phones, . Secondly, there is a flow of irrelevant and nonsensical messages. Thirdly, you may not want to share your number with a host of unknown names and faces, atleast not initially.
I am fairly social media active due to my blog, but even I at times get bugged with various messages that flood my smartphone due to WhatsApp groups and I can only imagine working parents checking and getting frustrated at the various updates of what some kids wore or ate, or just Good Morning messages or forwards. But what choice do we have? If we do not check there is a chance that we will miss something important or relevant. So relentlessly and painfully we waste our energies scrolling through in numerous messages.
I was only thinking of how I can get rid of these nuances when I came across a newly launched application called ‘Talkative Parents‘. Interestingly, Mahesh who is also a parent came up with the idea of launching this app after he and his wife saw the perils of Whatsapp and other social media.
Let’s cite an example from day before yesterday’s (9th Sept, 2015) news
BENGALURU: A post on Facebook page, Mums of Bangalore (MoM), lead to panic among parents on Monday afternoon. The post by a mother said a school van claiming to be from Sri Kumaran Children’s Home, Uttarahalli, came to pick up her friend’s son on Monday morning. The driver and support staff said the bus that usually takes the kids to school had broken down and that the institution had made for an alternative arrangement. The kid studies in 1st standard.
However, when the child’s father called the school’s transport manager to confirm the driver’s claim, they were in for a shock. Authorities declined sending any van. Before the family could alert police, the miscreants fled. The post ended with a warning for all parents that a new group is finding ways to kidnap children. Over 140 mothers commented on the post and shared their distress.
On Tuesday morning, Sri Kumaran Children’s Home sent a mail to parents, alerting them about the incident. The mail stated that the school will never use any private van service and in case of a vehicle breakdown, it’ll send its standby buses. It further said parents should always look out for notices and SMS alerts whenever there is a change in pickup-and-drop schedules.
So there is just no way to filter social media groups. Anyone can make a fake profile and post any message.It’s scary how we are all so susceptible to it. But then, if we are not connected to other parents how do we get to know of everyday homework, events in school etc.
You may debate that on Whatsapp, you only add people you know, unlike Facebook group. But then , you have to share your number with a huge group of ladies you may not want to. Additionally you may not like to be a part of redundant conversations that keep happening even in the wee hours.
So how is Talkative Parent different?
I think I can explain you this very well now as I had Mahesh and his team talk to me over two weeks to convince me before I reviewed the App. My logic? If I as a parent am not convinced how can I ask my readers and fellow parents to use it?
Firstly and very importantly, this app only connects parents of a particular grade and section. So parents or guardians of students who are not in your class don’t get any information on any platform about your kid and your class. So it’s completely private.
The pictures shared and the conversation had does not get saved in your phone gallery, so you don’t need to worry about it doing the rounds on other social media.
There are some other features to make sure no fake id is added:
You cannot add more than three kids. If you want to add more then you need special permission from the App.
Everytime a new member joins all the members of the group get notified and everyone can look into the credentials of the person.
Any new person joining the group cannot see any info that has already been shared on the group, unless he or she requests a member to share it with him or her.
If you find a suspicious character, you can flag him or her and the person can be removed.
Talkative Parents as of now
Today Talkative Parents has already parents registered from over 9000 schools and their next step is to get the schools on the platform as well. A few schools have already enrolled with them.
Private Chat Option:
If there is an issue with a particular child or you wnat to have a private conversation with a parent, there is a private chat option.
So how does this work?
So you download the APP- Talkative Parent from your Playstore or Applications depending on the mobile you use.
Fill in your details, which are only for your knowledge and the App does not share the database with anyone. Unlike other social media apps you use.
Then search for the school your child goes to and add your child’s class, section and name and you’re connected to everyone in his class.
Now you can chat with other parents on the group.
Share pics and see group pics that are shared with you.
If your school is not there, you can request to add your school to the app which gets done in a few hours.
See this video which explains the App easily.
One Major Advantage:
When you move countries or cities you can just add your child to his/ her school group without knowing the parents numbers and then get to know them at talkative parents.
Another Important feature:
You can mute the notifications, put on vibration etc if you’re in a meeting or trying to catch sleep.
To get schools also on the App so that the parents have more visibility to the school events and vision.
Schools, will also be happier as the parents will not use the school name on social media.
Finally Word ;
Ease Of use: It’s pretty simple to use, smooth flow and loads quickly.
Features: The best features are the fact that my info is safe on the App. And my data is not getting shared by some other data network. Also when I move to a new city/school I can easily get to know that parents and get familiarised with the school.
Hitches: The schools in India are still uncomfortable to come on any social media platform, but once they are there with this App, and they start opening up to parents, I see engagements and benefits. It can avoid all the hysteria that is caused by lack of communication. And they can be rest assured that the info they share will remain within the school virtual premises.
Also while they say that you cannot share the pics or conversations within the App, there is also a feature called screenshot which they have not been able to master and that if a parent wants to be notorious can take the conversation out of the App. But then if you are a responsible parent, you would avoid that.
So let’s get on the bandwagon and grow this community and hopefully we will be able to chat freely and interact with the schools as well.