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WhatsApp age rating(27 Posts)
DS is starting secondary school in September. He'll be getting a phone. Most of his year 6 have phones already and have a WhatsApp group set up. I know he's going to want to join it but I also know that WhatsApp's age rating is going to be raised to 16 - does anyone know why? I normally don't let him get apps that aren't for his age group but am not sure what the problem is with WhatsApp.
In the same position as you - DD is already in a few WhatsApp groups on my phone as she doesn't have one yet but will shortly. So no real answers, but my concerns are around bullying and sharing of inappropriate content. Would be interested to know others' thoughts. (FWIW my in experience of Y6 WhatsApp conversations to date, they mainly involve lots of saying "hi" to each other randomly, annoying chain letters and "how well do you know me?" quizzes )
There is risk involved in situations where children are allowed to privately message others.
It's just another messaging platform. Exactly the same as texting, on this occasion I would allow it. No inappropriate ads or anything, not sure why it's age restricted 🤔
It’s age restricted because children can and do share inappropriate content on there.
It's not the same as texting, groups can be set up to exclude others as they are all secret, people can be removed from groups, messages can be deleted by the sender once they have been sent.
Apart from deleting messages you can do all that on texting 🤔
My teens see Whatsapp as parent's communication (and they are right we have a very useful family whatsapp group - snapchat is the thing they use and instagram.
I agree with Zinnia - bullying and inappropriate sharing. There was a huge problem with this at my DC's school. Things can spiral out of control in a school environment.
Everything dissapears on Snapchat. Definitely easier for bullying/inappropriate pics etc
It's already been raised to 16yo I think.
I know WhatsApp can be used for bullying, but actually for my dc it's been positive. They're quite shy, and find it hard to make friends. But they've joined groups for subjects and/or interests from school. On that, they're a lot more confident to give an opinion/ask questions and it's led to them being more confident in making friends when they've got to know them on line first.
I check messages regularly until they're 16. I've queried anything I'm not happy about. There's always been an innocent explanation-and actually I think with 2 dc and lots of groups I've queried less than 5 times.
The school is very much onto anything inappropriate in these groups, and have acted immediately when other groups have had things, which helps. I think generally the children seem much more aware of what isn't acceptable and will shop each other in if they're not happy, which helps that they're, to a certain extent, self moderating. And a fair number of parents check as well.
DS has used watsapp since he was 13. No issues so far. They have a class / subject groups & they're good for sports teams. He doesn't seem to use for general friend/ social stuff.
The one I wish we hadn't allowed even though age ok is Snapchat. He's had no issues but there have been with others in school & school suggests don't permit it due to immediate deletion. Unfortunately it's the one platform all his age group use.
That's very interesting @Witchend.
I've been clear with my DD that she won't be allowed any social media until she's 13, but WhatsApp is the one I struggle with. On the one hand I know of children who have been bullied on it (not at our school, thankfully, at least not yet!), and also that children have shared inappropriate things and language in large groups. DD has so far been pretty sensible and removed herself from groups where she's been uncomfortable with what was being said.
But I also know it's the main form of communication outside school and if I'm keeping her off Snapchat, Instagram, TikTok or whatever other apps are flavour of the month, then it doesn't seem fair to restrict WhatsApp as well. Yet I'm also aware we're sending a completely contradictory message by letting her have an app with an age restriction of 16 yet not those with a limit of 13!
It's 16 now, isn't it? It is not being raised.
Although the age is 13 for countries outside the EU I think!
My DD hasn't got WhatsApp, if they ever introduce that Group Privacy option they promised she can have it (her secondary class also has a WhatsApp group) but I have no idea when it will finally arrive.
WhatsApp is the one I allow. DC and all their friends are on it. They are both in a million WhatsApp groups. It's the least dangerous of any phone app in my opinion. But then I do keep an eye on their phones and can see if anything horrible happens, plus they do talk to us if they see something they don't like.
I really believe it is better to let them use sonethinfrelatE
Oops sent too soon. Better to use something relatively safe and get used to it with our support before they are old enough to be let loose on who knows what social media and don't talk to us.
Of all social media, WhatsApp is the one I would feel happiest with my children using.
Thanks for all of the advice. It sounds as though as long as I talk to ds about content and check his phone regularly, that it should be ok.
If it had the group privacy option fine, otherwise they can be added to a group and everyone in the group then has their phone number. That's a massive no from me!
I can't get an answer from WhatsApp when the privacy option will be available either, I've tried to email them and they have bounced! I had the app myself and deleted it.
I didn’t realise that @ChicCroissant
Is that the same on IPhone message groups?
I don't know anything about iPhones so can't help there, sorry.
When/if the group privacy update arrives, you can set an option so you can't be added to a group without your permission. If you are added to the group, then they can still see your phone number tbh but at least you have some control over it!
Both of mine have Whatsapp, I hated snapchat, too many "streaks" and the instant deletion with no history.
I checked their phones all the time, but also removed them at night from their rooms. Ds1 is now 16 and has his at night but there is no activity. He actually deleted snapchat himself as he was sick of all the idiotic 1 or 2 word messages in the group. He is very mature and has consulted me a lot on situations within his friendship group.
We have found the benefits outweigh the problems but it does depend on their peer group. Mine have used it for contact about homework and school stuff. They mainly communicate through Discord on their PCs whilst gaming on headsets with their friends, but their computers are in a playroom, not in their rooms and I can see all the messages.
You have to let them navigate the world a bit and each fuck up is a teaching opportunity. But my two are boys and have never had the obsession with their phones that others may have.
I think the 16 thing is something to do with data protection regulations - it went up when the new GDPR was introduced. I vaguely remember it being something about information collected and held by apps and the regulations being stricter for children so rather than comply with the stricter regulations WhatsApp just raised the age bar.
The problem with WhatsApp is that if you are added to a chat, everyone in the chat can see your contact details and message you. DD has been added to some big group chats which I was not happy about in the past and received some inappropriate messages (from similar aged kids). Fortunately she is sensible and immediately blocked those people and referred it all to me. But with a less sensible child, you could have a problem,
If your child is sensible and will check with you before talking to people they don't know, no problem. Otherwise I would not allow it.
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