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Whatsapp - what do we need to know?

(22 Posts)
feetheart Thu 05-Nov-15 09:45:33

DD (nearly 13) has asked to install Whatsapp.
I have it but only use it with one group of friends and DH, although very tech savvy, doesn't use anything other than Facebook.

I've had a look on the CEOPs site but not got much.
What do we need to know? How easy is it to control? What issues, if any, have people had with their teenagers using it?

She is a sensible girl who usually thinks things through and I'm really happy that she asked, and is waiting patiently for an answer

TIA wise MNetters smile

bigTillyMint Thu 05-Nov-15 09:48:56

We all have it on our phones - great for free texts/pics especially to/from abroad. I think you can phone on it too, but haven't tried it. No issues at all.

MilkTwoSugarsThanks Thu 05-Nov-15 09:50:04

Well DS just uses it like texting, but can text friends who have email addresses but no phone.

I don't know about controls, but my rule is that I can look at his phone and read any messages at any time. I did once reply to a "friend" of his on a group chat - the "friend" was very apologetic! I also took a screen shot of what had been said.

space0bongo Thu 05-Nov-15 09:54:21

I have Whatsapp but wouldn't recommend it for a young teenager unless you're on the group too. Unlike with Facebook/Instagram literally anything goes. Have heard horror stories of kids using whatsapp to share porn/arrange fights/bully each other.

feetheart Thu 05-Nov-15 11:59:10

Thanks everyone. Mixed feelings so far smile

bigTillyMint Thu 05-Nov-15 13:01:55

IME, they are more likely to use Snapchat and FB messenger with mates/other teens in a group chat. But maybe it's different in different parts of the country?

BackforGood Thu 05-Nov-15 23:57:38

We all have it - really useful for sharing pictures, for having group conversations, and, - the main bonus - it's FREE! so she can text away to her friends to her heart's content without using any of her allowance. (Yup, even when your dc is on the other side of the world).

Very, very easy to leave the group if you don't like what you are reading.

My dds are in all sorts of groups, (including subject groups - so someone checks what homework they are supposed to be doing), as well as groups for hobbies, etc. Great for arranging lifts together / meeting up etc.

Remember, it's not the 'WhatsApp' that is ever the problem, it's may be the people she is in groups with, so you need to work on her self confidence / ability to speak up if ever uncomfortable, rather than saying she can't use today's technology to communicate.

feetheart Fri 06-Nov-15 06:38:36

That's really useful BackforGood, thanks.

I think it depends on what friends are using bigTillyMint. She was using Instagram, her friendship group seems to be changing and I assume this is what others are using. Then again who knows, it might be this term's/year's fad smile

Ememem84 Fri 06-Nov-15 06:50:56

I use whatssap and have to agree it's not the app itself that could be dangerous. It's the people who use it. App isn't going to send your df dodgy content.

You can set it so all downloads go to photo album/cloud storage and it stores chat history. So I think you can keep an eye on it.

That said the only thing I hate about it is that it shows when you were last online/when you are online.

You can change this in security settings but I've been using it for years now and only worked this out last week....

IguanaTail Fri 06-Nov-15 06:52:43

It's a free group text so they can chat together. It's excellent.

Bunbaker Fri 06-Nov-15 06:58:23

How does Whatsapp work? Do you need internet? How is it different from messenger?

DD hardly ever texts anyone. They all use messenger, Instagram and Snapchat.

Ememem84 messenger tells people that you are online or when you were last online.

DurhamDurham Fri 06-Nov-15 07:05:03

My two girls introduced me and husband to Watsapp, it's great. We have a group chat where all four of us join in. It's a great way to pass on messages, keep in touch and have a bit of a laugh. Some days I come out of meetings and switch my phone back on to see about 50 notifications and it's them trying to decide what to do at the weekend or what we should have for it's not always the most exciting topics but it keeps us in touch with the girls and it's free to use ( definitely for the first year, I'm not sure after that).

I think with all areas of social media and the internet a degree of caution is needed but as you have mentioned that your daughter is sensible, plus you show interest and look in to things with her, she will be fine smile

Bunbaker Fri 06-Nov-15 07:15:57

As a family we never feel the need for a group chat. OH and I text briefly only to get/give information eg can I pick some milk up on my way home from work. Same with DD. She texts me to let me know when I need to pick her up after an after school activity or similar.

Is it internet based?

Bunbaker Fri 06-Nov-15 07:16:34

Aren't texts free on most contracts anyway?

bigTillyMint Fri 06-Nov-15 07:58:42

We don't have it for group chat! We have it because it is internet based and we have lots of friends in other countries so it is free to message them and send pictures.

wickedwaterwitch Fri 06-Nov-15 11:33:15

At her age I'd be making sure I could check messages tbh
It's useful but groups can share anything

Bunbaker Fri 06-Nov-15 20:50:45

So, being out and about where there is no free Wi-Fi and a poor mobile data signal isn't great for Whatsapp then?

IguanaTail Fri 06-Nov-15 20:54:24

It's free. If there is no wifi and poor data signal then it won't work. It's fabulous for using abroad. And it also has a phone function if you press the icon of the phone, so that phone calls abroad are totally free as well (if you have wifi).

73dexter Sat 07-Nov-15 08:24:00

We all use Whatsapp. The phone function is good too.

rogueantimatter Sat 07-Nov-15 13:18:12

DS -16 uses it. He has a group for his band. And a friendship group.

Very convenient.

One of his friends told me that another friend in the group keeps locking him out of it......

DS phone seems to constantly be pinging away with chat that he can't always be bothered with. First thing in the morning and the group chat from late at night after DS has gone to sleep is waiting for him.

BackforGood Sat 07-Nov-15 17:10:29

No, it doesn't work without either data or wifi, but lots of us live where virtually every building you go in to is likely to have wifi.
It's the 'freeness' of it that appeals to a lot of people - remember, not everyone has a contract. My 17 yr old puts £10 on her PAYG phone about once in 18months - 2 year - she just has no need to use texts as she uses Whatsapp.
It's also lovely to see photos of my little nieces and nephews that I don't see so often.
It's also lovely to chat to my 'grown up' nieces and nephews or my dc, when they are half way round the world - again, free (which can cost a lot on many contracts).
We also make use of the groups, quite a lot.
ds sends me lots of's his way of sharing a recipe or asking me about washing instructions wink

Bunbaker Sat 07-Nov-15 18:20:18

I don't think any of DD's friends use Whatsapp. They all use Messenger most of the time and occasionally Snapchat and Instagram.

I will download Whatsapp in case DD and I go abroad without OH again. It would have come in handy when we were away at half term because we could actually get Wi-Fi in our room for once.

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