As of 2019, WhatsApp was ranked the most popular global mobile messenger app worldwide with approximately 1.6 billion monthly active users surpassing other popular platforms such as Instagram and long-time runners such as Facebook. WhatsApp's a relatively simple and it's quite easy to use even for technological illiterate people. Once you install it, you can connect with any of your contacts, provided that they've installed the app, and send them messages almost immediately. It's fidelity makes it a popular choice of communication between friends and family and bridges the divide between those who can easily use technology and those who can't. Essentially - It's a great tool for personal communication.
When it comes to professional communication, however, the cracks start to show. A quick read on the Pros and Cons of Whatsapp for schools will help you understand why your school will be better off not using WhatsApp as a means of communication.
So why are we against the most popular social media platform when it comes to work? Here are 6 solid points we've outlined our case with.
Your Data Is At Risk:
An article published by Huffpost has revealed how WhatsApp has been providing third-party access to the chats sent by users on their platform to several corporate organisations - a horrific breach of user privacy - which has been severely devastating to organisations who are victims of this. WhatsApp has been taking a lot of heat recently. Although they deny the claims, there's proof enough to show you how your school data is not safe while you use WhatsApp. Several reports show Whatsapp misleading people by stating they use ‘end-to-end-encryption’ for all chats and groups created on WhatsApp while leaving the chats completely unprotected and saving all the data to their cloud. The prompt - ‘how often you would like to back up your chats’ - is actually a user experience tweak. Their system encourages you to expose your private data to third party sources.
In three-person group chats through the messaging service, there is an 87.5% probability that the chat is being stored in the cloud, and the number increases with the more members that join the group chat. For groups of five members it is nearly 97% and for those with seven it is 99%. Simply put, there is virtually no such thing as encrypted group chats in WhatsApp. - Huffpost
School’s Productivity Goes Down:
Since WhatsApp is such a popular platform, we can't ignore the fact that it's an obvious and convenient choice when messages are to be sent quickly. However, it's important to note that messenger platforms are actually killing your school productivity instead of enhancing it. WhatsApp is a linear communication chat platform. It's difficult to retrieve messages and agenda from chat. The endless scrolling to find information sent quite a while back takes away precious time. If the school sent a notice on WhatsApp about an upcoming Christmas event with the details of different dress codes for different classes. Schools send messages a week or two before any event. This is to let parents prepare or purchase the necessary items for the event. However, schools continue sending notifications. Information such as the dress code might get lost in chat. Parents will miss the notification completely.
Forwards. Neither can it filter redundant and overcrowding 'good morning' messages. People also send unnecessary forward messages. The constant hum of notifications as each and every message is loaded led to the description of chat for businesses to be 'Death by a 100 beeps'
We find a lot of people at workplace as well in holiday destinations using WhatsApp. I feel with this present WhatsApp era people are getting more and more distracted. It brings down a person's productivity to a large extent. - Surekha Krishnan, indiastudychannel.com
Parents Contact Numbers Are Exposed:
When a school creates a WhatsApp group to keep in touch with parents, their profile picture and their number is visible to every member of the group. This can open up a new can of worms. Parents may lose their privacy and be contacted by other parents which can be irritating sometimes.
WhatsApp can make it more difficult for schools to operate since parents can easily interfere. It's difficult to please everyone in a group and there will be one or two naysayers everywhere. When a school use a mobile app, contact numbers do not exposed. They will receive messages and can comment. However, there is limited possibility for interaction between parents in a school communication app.
Hard to have a professional mindset on a personal app:
WhatsApp is an app to chat. To exchange messages between friends and family. It's not a business tool and is limited by design to provide only a few features to provide what it is actually created for- CHAT. You can't expect professionalism when you open WhatsApp to find messages delivered from your children, a family group or a college group. A lot of working adults like to keep their work life and their personal life separate. users tend to get distracted as messages get mixed up.
Teachers working in your school are very susceptible to this. And it can affect the quality of their work along with their general productivity. We're all part of different WhatsApp groups and can get new messages from anyone at anytime. Getting the wrong message at the wrong time is an extremely plausible scenario in this case. For those with friends who live in different parts of the world, their group practically never sleeps. It's hard to ignore message notifications as it arouses one's curiosity. Let's face it, WhatsApp is addictive.
Whatsapp lacks School ERP Software features:
As a different type of product altogether; WhatsApp lacks certain essential features you would need when using an app for communication between your business, the staff and your customers. In other words: your school, the teachers and the parents.
These features are of the sort provided by ERP software.
A school app however offers features and functions that's specific to a school’s need. Some of the most important features in a school app are timetable management, homework assignment, grouping classes, assigning multiple administrators, report card generation, payment collection, reconciliation of payments, automated reminder system, absentee marking and much, much more.
These features are only provided by a school management or ERP software. WhatsApp cannot support such functions.
One Device for One user:
As a school owner, you may want to have multiple teachers manage various sections or parts of your school app. WhatsApp lacks a multiple-tier administrator function. Owners will have to rely on a single device to manage your entire school account.
What does that mean? The ownership to communicate and manage is dependent on a single person. This can severely limit how well you can manage the system efficiently. However, a school management software or a school app will give you the freedom to assign multiple-tier administrator access with varying access levels to your school account. The ONNE app for schools has this feature. Make Any number of admins or super admins. As the owner, you can have complete control of the app and see what's going on where within the app.
If you're from a school relying on WhatsApp to get through communication hiccups, hopefully this will help you find a better solution for you and your school.
Read about Everything you need to know about using Whatsapp for Schools