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Preteens

Should I allow WhatsApp year 7?

43 replies

Shinyandnew2022 · 19/01/2023 11:14

Hi all DD is in her second term at secondary and settling in well.
She has a phone for school and chats to a wide group of people including her old year 6 cohort on a group chat ( they are at 4 different schools but socialise at weekends)

Apparently she is one of two or three in her class who don't have WhatsApp and aren't on the class group chat.
I have said no up until now when asked as I am a realist about how those groups go ..
but now she is asking again because one of her new school friends is only allowed to message on WhatsApp .

So what do most people do - I read about why it's not advised for her age and think no - but in effect I just leave her feeling isolated from her class and clearly most other parents are happy with it and school are condoning it ?

I do check her phone regularly but she can be quite reactive and let's say her sharp wit doesn't always land well in messages .



What are others thoughts?

OP posts:
RecoIIectionsMayVary · 19/01/2023 11:18

I'm strict but would allow her at secondary school. It is a messaging app, much worse is on Tik Tock.

Keep communicating with her and checking phone.

BooksAndHooks · 19/01/2023 11:20

I allow it, they do get missed out of the loop without it. It is very useful for messaging the class group to ask if a teacher collected a book in for example or if anyone can send a photo of the homework question over for example.

I monitor phone and it is easier to see a problem and address it on a group chat than it is when they are having conversations in real life.

redskydelight · 19/01/2023 11:21

Yes. It's likely that she will miss out socially if she's not included. In Year 7 (at least at my DC's school) there are also a lot of spontaneous meetups organised via the class group.

I'd check what groups she is part of (only ones where she knows the others included e.g. school groups) and that you keep channels of communication open regarding sharing information online and if she is concerned about any messages you receive.

Shinyandnew2022 · 19/01/2023 11:29

Ok resounding yes then !
She will be overjoyed 😄

She isn't on TikTok either but am fully aware that the content is available all over the place.

But yes think I need to use it as a chance to also reaffirm the things to watch out for.

Thanks for the replies.

OP posts:
GreenIsle · 19/01/2023 11:31

How is WhatsApp any different from text messages Hmm

SnowAndFrostOutside · 19/01/2023 11:39

My year 7 has whatsapp because there's a class chat and that's what all her friends use. She also has audlt youtube because teachers keep giving homework videos that aren't available on kids youtube. But she has no tiktok, snapchat, instagram.

SnowAndFrostOutside · 19/01/2023 11:45

GreenIsle · 19/01/2023 11:31

How is WhatsApp any different from text messages Hmm

The danger is in the group chats, where you can be added by a friend and then get into contacts with friend of friends, or someone you don't know at all. It's less likely to happen in SMS because there's no group chat and you'll need to pass the actual phone number around before a stranger can initiate contact with you.

SnowAndFrostOutside · 19/01/2023 11:47

Also, they maybe sharing too much personal information and not knowing who's in these group chats. It's important the child is aware of this and you monitor what groups they are in.

Reindear · 19/01/2023 11:49

I would, it’s no different to texts. You can be in group messages on texts, my son is. He doesn’t have WhatsApp yet because I haven’t downloaded it yet but they all seem to be on big groups on the normal text app

SnoozyLucy7 · 19/01/2023 12:07

But it’s just a messaging platform, it’s not social media. Everyone has WhatsApp, and at the moment, it’s one of the most popular ways to communicate with others. By not having it she will probably be missing out on things, so i would say that it’s not fair that you have not allowed her to have it.

Shinyandnew2022 · 19/01/2023 16:00

SnowAndFrostOutside · 19/01/2023 11:47

Also, they maybe sharing too much personal information and not knowing who's in these group chats. It's important the child is aware of this and you monitor what groups they are in.

Yes these are my concerns - also

  1. sexually graphic giphys easily available and no way of restricting access to these.

Maybe I am being naive but I feel pretty depressed to knowingly give her a tool with that all there.

  1. I understand but haven't tested that if you need to delete a sent message it doesn't delete from everyone's devices - is that right or has this changed as I do get deleted messages on my own chats ? ( this was from common sense media a review some time ago)


I looked at common sense media and it says recommended for age 14+
OP posts:
Shinyandnew2022 · 19/01/2023 16:06

Also WhatsApps own age limit is 16 - so they presumably don't want to have to worry about safeguarding minors on their platform?

Oh I am also not keen on disappearing pictures being sent !

I am just not ready for all this ..

OP posts:
Waitingforcoffee · 19/01/2023 16:09

This reply has been withdrawn

This message has been withdrawn at the poster's request

Itsallyellow22 · 19/01/2023 16:14

My Year 7 doesn't have WhatsApp, I don't care who else has it. It's 16+ for very good reason. She just texts friends it's not an issue. I've seen the sort of things that were said on the year 6 groups (which DC wasn't on) and the sorts of photos people posted! There issues with racist contents, photos being posted without consent and bullying, and that was year 6!

RecoIIectionsMayVary · 19/01/2023 17:48

But allocated can happen on text chat @Itsallyellow22 groups, and gifs, and disturbing content.

If you allow your child a phone you have already opened up to the possibility of inappropriate content, to believe otherwise is naive.

Op, remind you DD that all info can be screenshot, so even if deleted it can remain. Also people use an app which saves all messages sent even if deleted.

Washaday · 19/01/2023 17:50

It's a no from me. If WhatsApp itself says over 16..
School near me won't Police it or deal with any issues from it as they say the kids shouldn't have it.

Itsallyellow22 · 19/01/2023 18:12

RecoIIectionsMayVary no, my DC cannot send or receive pictures or gifs, only standard text messages. And only to individual people at a time, no group chats.

Itsallyellow22 · 19/01/2023 18:16

Washaday I agree with that approach. Schools shouldn't police it. If parents allow these apps then that's their choice. My DC primary has had issues with WhatsApp bullying and inappropriate content seen on tiktok. I have no sympathy at all for the parents who give their primary age DC phones and allow such apps and then get upset when their child suffers consequences.

milkysmum · 19/01/2023 18:19

Mine have it ( year 6 and year 9 ). They would feel very excluded from peers without it unfortunately as this is how meet ups are arranged abd how they stay connected outside of school.
I do monitor, and to add context I do work for a children's safeguarding team.

SnowAndFrostOutside · 19/01/2023 18:26

Shinyandnew2022 · 19/01/2023 16:00

Yes these are my concerns - also

  1. sexually graphic giphys easily available and no way of restricting access to these.

Maybe I am being naive but I feel pretty depressed to knowingly give her a tool with that all there.

  1. I understand but haven't tested that if you need to delete a sent message it doesn't delete from everyone's devices - is that right or has this changed as I do get deleted messages on my own chats ? ( this was from common sense media a review some time ago)


I looked at common sense media and it says recommended for age 14+

It’s deleted from other peoples stream but only if they haven’t seen it. If they have, then it could already been in a screenshot. Photos and videos are automatically downloaded into your device when you open the app unless you turn it off. So they will also exist on other peoples devices. If it’s sent, it is basically impossible to be unseen.

SnowAndFrostOutside · 19/01/2023 18:27

They don’t even need to have opened the app to read it if the app has notification on. They will then be on the recipients locked phone screen too.

AllThingsServeTheBeam · 19/01/2023 18:29

My year 6 DS has it. I view the conversations several times a day. He hasn't got any other social media.

HandsOffMyCarrierBags · 19/01/2023 18:36

gosh forget the kids, some of the parents are gossipy bitches on WhatsApp.

Simplelobsterhat · 19/01/2023 18:49

Can I ask what she uses for the group chat you say she is already on then? How is it different?

Mine had it from mid year 6 when she got a phone. It's what they were all using to message and I worry she struggles socially as it is. It was with the condition I can and do check it regularly.

There has been a bit of silliness, a few inappropriate things from other people (all of which were actually links from Tik tok, which she's not allowed, but they were taking her to the ticktok web version, so I blocked that on her phone) and lots of drama about removing people from groups / who has admin. I figured these are the sort of things that are happening in person anyway, at least I can see it and we can talk about it. Interestingly she chose a few times herself to take herself off groups that were getting nasty/ inappropriate things being shared before I even had to say anything, and now 2 years in is only on groups with her nice close friends, so I think it's been a learning experience.

Keepfocused · 19/01/2023 18:52

I always said if I saw you in a group chat of more than 5 people the app would be deleted. Other than that - keep monitoring

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