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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:
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RecoIIectionsMayVary · 19/01/2023 18:53

@Simplelobsterhat I think that is a great post, you've taught her to use it at an age where you still have control over her usage.

@Itsallyellow22 how have you blocked that on a smartphone?

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Oblomov22 · 19/01/2023 18:55

"no group chats."

WTF? Hmm

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Itsallyellow22 · 19/01/2023 19:02

Oblomov22 why the raised eyebrow? Having seen a lot of inappropriate things posted on the primary school group chats (which DC was not on, but I was sent screenshot by parents who were having issues), I don't want my 11 year-old DC be on group chats. We will review this as they get older. I don't see what's eyebrow raising about that 🙂

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Oblomov22 · 19/01/2023 19:08

Primary is different. Year 7+ is secondary, making new friends, new groups. To deny any child this seems unfair. Groups are massive. Do you not trust your dd? Have you talked to her about it all, your concerns. My ds1 is at Uni, my ds2 year 9, no problems with phones, saw some minor bullying. Ds2 told me about it, I photographed, he left the group. No issues.

If you deal with it well, hopefully there will be no issues.

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Itsallyellow22 · 19/01/2023 20:02

DC is now year 7 and only got a phone at start of the first term. I trust DC, but not the contents posted by other DC. The children that were racist/sexist/bullying in year 6 won't suddenly not be in year 7 😄 DC is happy and has a busy social life so, we don't see the need to change things at the moment.

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Shinyandnew2022 · 19/01/2023 21:34

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.

I think there are
Earlier posts answering what worries me about WhatsApp compared to iMessage.
She isn't on any big year 7 groups just a small group with friends she has known forever .

Other posters asking if I trust her- I guess that's it, I don't know as I think so many adults misbehave on big group chats.
It's hard not to to 'react' and I would rather not risk her getting involved in a very public drama - but of course I must balance that with risking her feeling left out .
Some really helpful views and advice on here though so I think I will start with a conversation about the risks and take it from there .

OP posts:
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Simplelobsterhat · 19/01/2023 21:43

Shinyandnew2022 · 19/01/2023 21:34

I think there are
Earlier posts answering what worries me about WhatsApp compared to iMessage.
She isn't on any big year 7 groups just a small group with friends she has known forever .

Other posters asking if I trust her- I guess that's it, I don't know as I think so many adults misbehave on big group chats.
It's hard not to to 'react' and I would rather not risk her getting involved in a very public drama - but of course I must balance that with risking her feeling left out .
Some really helpful views and advice on here though so I think I will start with a conversation about the risks and take it from there .

Ah ok, we've only ever had android devices so I don't know anything about iMessage but I assumed if it had group messages risks would be similar. Actually that's reminded me of the other reason I let her have WhatsApp. She already couldn't use face time or iMessage like some of her friends as we all have cheaper phones than apple, so I felt she'd be really left out if I kept her off the way of video calling and messaging she could use!

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Saltywalruss · 19/01/2023 21:47

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 ..

If you have to be 16 to have Whatsapp how would you explain to her that's it's ok to break this rule? And what about other things that have age limits?

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RinklyRomaine · 20/01/2023 07:03

I'm late to this but I allowed it from Y7. It is their main app altho most off DDs friends are obsessed with Snapchat which I don't allow.

Her devices are in my room by 9, nothing is passworded without my knowing it and we agreed that she and her friends don't delete messages. If they start doing it in wider group chats DD leaves. Sometimes her less monitored friends do it, but she tends to tell me what it was and has learned over the last 18m how to handle it.

I did report a group chat to head of year in Y7 which had gone extremely inappropriate. She said it's the parents who don't monitor who are the issue and as a general rule the whole class chats are the problem. If they become difficult, leave the group. The smaller ones are usually fine.

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Oblomov22 · 20/01/2023 10:41

Well, hopefully OP and all other anxious parents have been convinced to allow their dc SM. My friends with girls say it needs to be monitored more closely because bitchiness can be a problem. As I said I've never had any problems with my ds's. They send minimal worded texts. Like men: Pub. Friday. 8pm. It's : let's meet to play football. Endless YouTube TikTok clips of premier goalkeepers making bodges of saves. Fun. It develops friendships. Gives them groups to be part of. It's important.
Don't deny your children this.

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Oblomov22 · 20/01/2023 10:45

What are you worried about? No one wants their dd's sending pictures, receiving dick pics. So you talk about that, when the time is right.

No one wants their dd in groups where there's nastiness. So you talk about that.

No one wants their dc worried about things. Hoping they'll be able to tell you, whatever the problem / issue is. So you talk about that.

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lilsupersparks · 20/01/2023 10:50

My son has WhatsApp - he has friends who aren’t on Apple and use it for messaging. He is categorically NOT ALLOWED in group chats. I am a teacher at his school. They are a nightmare.

He does have a couple of ‘groups’ as in a small group of his friends.

If you do allow her, check it regularly. But IMO no need for the big group chats.

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OrlandointheWilderness · 20/01/2023 10:52

I allow WhatsApp but it is checked every day. She doesn't have any other social media.

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crackofdoom · 20/01/2023 13:02

I think I let mine have it by the end of year 7. I haven't seen anything too hair raising when I've checked it, but there have been a couple of episodes of inappropriate language (using "gay" as an insult in 2023, WTAF), and there was one occasion when DS was really rude to a girl and told her to fuck off. I suppose that kids have always been using language like that between themselves, the only difference now is that we can monitor it, and Have Words (and make him apologise, in the latter case).

I don't let him have Snapchat, because it seems really difficult to turn disappearing messages off.

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Waitingforcoffee · 20/01/2023 13:29

Oblomov22 · 20/01/2023 10:41

Well, hopefully OP and all other anxious parents have been convinced to allow their dc SM. My friends with girls say it needs to be monitored more closely because bitchiness can be a problem. As I said I've never had any problems with my ds's. They send minimal worded texts. Like men: Pub. Friday. 8pm. It's : let's meet to play football. Endless YouTube TikTok clips of premier goalkeepers making bodges of saves. Fun. It develops friendships. Gives them groups to be part of. It's important.
Don't deny your children this.

This is true! My DS's typical messages go like this: "Wat time u goin", receives the reply "5", will respond to that "k". (as in, OK, but can't be bothered to type "OK", because it's just so long apparently).

Then a video of a near miss goal followed by receiving 10 other near miss goal vids and finishing off with a gif of a cat seeming to put its paw over its eyes in disbelief.

Invites containing a bit of detail will be responded to simply by Yeh or Cool.

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Shinyandnew2022 · 21/01/2023 11:37

Thanks again everyone I have taken some really good pointers from this thread it's been really useful hearing everyone's views.
As you can tell my DD is my oldest child (PFB!) and I am cautious of allowing things then regretting it - it's only six months ago we were still in the bubble of a tiny primary school!
I am going to chat with her later and agree some rules before we download it.

OP posts:
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Chickenkorma64 · 21/01/2023 11:48

I work in a secondary school. We have had multiple incidents with year 7 and inappropriate use of Whatsapp, including bullying and other nasties .
So would strongly advise against allowing WhatsApp. Please make sure phones are left in a safe place overnight, or children may feel they have to been online all night to respond to threads.

if you do allow it, make sure you have access to your child’s phone and check it regularly

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Ostagazuzulum · 26/01/2023 20:36

Mine is year 7 and has had it a while. I check her phone and it's been an interesting way to see how much I can trust DD. There's been times in year 6 where one of the boys, (puberty was raging) put some really sexual language on there. I was horrified but as I scrolled down DD and her friends berated him and kicked him off group until his language at school improved. It was a side of her I didn't really see as she's an only DD and we only have her friends round so I've never really known how she deals with conflict or stuff like that.
There's basic rules. Including anything concerning she tells me about, if people argue she doesn't get involved and deletes or blocks any number she doesn't recognise ie friend of a friend.
She's not perfect by any means and there's times when she has got bit involved in sniping but it's helped me help her navigate it and encouraged conversations about stuff I might not have known about.
I think it helps socially and she'd be really
Left out without it. High school is hard enough without being odd one out. Plus there's got to be a time when you afford a bit of trust.

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