When parents take to social web

The popularity of Whatsapp and Facebook groups makes phone calls seem complex in comparison. Tapping into the tech trend are parents of young children in Lucknow, who’re getting together on these forums to talk about their concerns and to simplify things for themselves. In fact, so much so that most parents of kids in junior classes have a group dedicated to discussing their wards’ classroom activities on Whatsapp.

While from the outside, it may seem like a case of helicopter parenting, from the inside, the groups are really about taking on the role of a parent-support group. Tanya Rastogi, whose daughter studies in La Martiniere Girls’ junior section, is part of such a group that includes mothers of other children in her daughter’s class. “It’s a boon,” she says, “especially if you’re a working mother. Usually, one would get to know about the homework given to children on reaching home in the evening. But thanks to these class groups now, more often than not, mothers post a pic of the school diary with the day’s homework earlier, and that helps to organise things better.” Tanya adds that while she may have only met three of the 50 women in the group, she now knows the children in her daughter’s class, as parents post pics of them regularly on the group.

Woman and young girl in kitchen with laptop and paperwork smilin

As Babita Lamba, mother of a Class III student at Loreto Convent School, shares, “We formed a group of some 12 mothers on Whatsapp towards the end of the last academic session. It’s really helpful because in case a student misses school for any reason, it’s easy to find out what was taught in class, and if any homework was given. We also share other details of school activities on the group, just so we are all in the know about what’s happening.”

But some groups have been formed with a greater intention than just exchanging notes. Sample this: a group of parents from La Martiniere Girls got together on Whatsapp to talk about some contributing to infrastructure improvements in the school. While approaching parents individually to ask their views on the matter would have been difficult, it took only a couple of days to mobilise them on group chat. “The school was extremely supportive of our endeavour, as they share the parents’ intent about the welfare of the children,” says Ruchi Kapur, one of the group member, adding that the collective efforts of the parents and the school has led to fruitful action.

Agrees Aashrita Dass, Vice Principal, La Martiniere Girls College, and says, “There are some of these groups that we are aware of, and they are doing very good work. For the rest, I think as long as parents are able to help each other out, it’s ok. So, a group that talks about resolving traffic problems outside the school, is definitely a good move. But just comparing notes on what happened in your child’s class today could create more confusion than clarity.”


Parents also realise that they are as much responsible for their children’s safety as the schools, and are proactive in doing something about it. So, another set of parents got together on Facebook to address the traffic woes outside their children’s school at the beginning and end of each school days. “Everyone was always cribbing about the traffic jam outside the school when they went to pick and drop their children. So we formed a group to talk about how to resolve the problem. The idea was to get the auto-rickshaw drivers to park sensibly, and we succeeded in doing that for some time,” says Kunal Punjabi, father of a Class II student, but adds, “We need to do that again.”


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