What's up with Whatsapp? writes Superna Motwane

Monday, 12 May 2014 - 2:12pm IST | Agency: dna

I love Whatsapp. The once exciting BBM, now annoys me, but I have still not let it go. Whatsapp, I am addicted to. I even wonder how we worked pre-Whatsapp. I wonder how I did phone meetings, exchanged layouts and ideas with my team, contacts and updates. I wonder how I kept in touch with people, with my friends, with other mums. How did we plan lunches, or group playdates…I simply can't remember how that worked.

This morning I read about a teenage boy who's been arrested for sending a picture of a girl that he took on a train. A 16-year-old girl was sitting opposite him with her mother. He took a picture of her and sent it to his friends via Whatsapp; I believe to a group of three. One of them responded with a lewd comment. That was against the law. This morning on Facebook, a friend of mine has declared that as a part of new beginnings, she is going off BBM and Whatsapp. A sort of cleansing, if you will. I looked at the post and wanted to ask her why, but I figured, sooner or later, we would all go this way.

The other day, at lunch with a bunch of mothers, I heard that children as early as the age of ten, are on Whatsapp groups. It upset me. I'm all for technology, but are they responsible yet? Are they responsible to not bully? Are they mature enough to even realise when they are being bullied? And what about the children who are not on Whatsapp? Those who don't have their own phones, are they ready to be 'left out'? Is this a brand new wave of peer pressure that even parents can't escape?

One very sensible mother told me that although her daughter – an A grade student – never ever insisted on a phone, she realised that all the girls were on phone groups now and she didn't want her daughter to be left out. With all the pressure there is nowadays anyway, she didn't want to add to her daughter's list. As a parent myself, I understand that. I undersand wanting to make it easier for my children. If I can. I understand not really being able to reason with myself about what is wrong with technology. What's wrong with children being in with the times? What could be wrong in the long term?

And yet, as a parent, I am terrified, that somehow, this is not right.
We live the good life. We have access to everything. Let's hope and pray we do it right.

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