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WhatsApp for messaging parents

  • 11-05-2021 9:24pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 435 ✭✭ searay


    Some members of our club committee are trying to stop mentors of underage teams from using WhatsApp to Communicate to parents. In February 2020 there was some press coverage of the GAA’s social media guidelines and they are saying that is the reason for it.

    They are trying to get us to use Foireann but I have a lot of reservations about it for anything other than the health questionnaire. We’ve looked for parents to elect the join the WhatsApp group and are using it in broadcast mode and we’ve had no issues with it.

    Have other clubs ‘outlawed’ WhatsApp.?
    Is WhatsApp permitted by the GAA where the club is GDPR compliant?
    Is Foireann suitable for communication with parents?
    Can you suggest alternatives?


Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 725 ✭✭✭ C.O.Y.B.I.B


    searay wrote: »
    Some members of our club committee are trying to stop mentors of underage teams from using WhatsApp to Communicate to parents. In February 2020 there was some press coverage of the GAA’s social media guidelines and they are saying that is the reason for it.

    They are trying to get us to use Foireann but I have a lot of reservations about it for anything other than the health questionnaire. We’ve looked for parents to elect the join the WhatsApp group and are using it in broadcast mode and we’ve had no issues with it.

    Have other clubs ‘outlawed’ WhatsApp.?
    Is WhatsApp permitted by the GAA where the club is GDPR compliant?
    Is Foireann suitable for communication with parents?
    Can you suggest alternatives?

    Our club advised against using WhatsApp , but most teams still use it . Like you , I find t a great way to communicate with parents . Maybe when foireann "matures" it might be an option


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,198 ✭✭✭ dobman88


    We've been told to stop using WhatsApp and start using ClubZap but it's a pain in the hole. Shockingly bad interface and takes an age to load.

    The team kept a WhatsApp group but manager said he can't post training/game updates there anymore, even though nobody has an issue using it.


  • Registered Users Posts: 526 ✭✭✭ Fine Cheers


    Taken from the GAA's Social Media Guidelines

    From a GDPR perspective, Whatsapp is not compliant when used for official communications. This is due to a number of reasons. Firstly, if a Whatsapp group is set up (U-12 hurling for example) every parent in that group has their phone number and possibly profile photograph if they have one, shared with every other parent in the group without giving their consent for their personal data to be shared in this manner. Also, the lack of auditing ability the Club/County has over a Whatsapp group is an issue. This is an issue for a number of reasons outside of GDPR and data protection also. For instance, if a parent in a Whatsapp group were to post unsuitable material to the Whatsapp group, and then leave the group, the administrators of the group cannot remove such material. The lack of auditing ability also makes it difficult to comply with a Subject Access Request or request for deletion if one were received. Along with the above, there is an issue presently with Whatsapp as to the location of the storage of information within it. If personal data is transferred outside the EEA, the entity transferring it (the Club/County) will have to ensure additional safeguards are in place which is not possible when using Whatsapp. Therefore due to these reasons, the use of Whatsapp in an official capacity is not advisable.[/I]

    So not advisable but not against the rules it seems. I wonder how many know about the broadcast feature and use it.
    I have to say in terms of communicating with adult players it is brilliant.




  • Telegram is much better for this kind of thing


  • Registered Users Posts: 435 ✭✭ searay


    Taken from the GAA's Social Media Guidelines

    From a GDPR perspective, Whatsapp is not compliant when used for official communications. This is due to a number of reasons. Firstly, if a Whatsapp group is set up (U-12 hurling for example) every parent in that group has their phone number and possibly profile photograph if they have one, shared with every other parent in the group without giving their consent for their personal data to be shared in this manner. Also, the lack of auditing ability the Club/County has over a Whatsapp group is an issue. This is an issue for a number of reasons outside of GDPR and data protection also. For instance, if a parent in a Whatsapp group were to post unsuitable material to the Whatsapp group, and then leave the group, the administrators of the group cannot remove such material. The lack of auditing ability also makes it difficult to comply with a Subject Access Request or request for deletion if one were received. Along with the above, there is an issue presently with Whatsapp as to the location of the storage of information within it. If personal data is transferred outside the EEA, the entity transferring it (the Club/County) will have to ensure additional safeguards are in place which is not possible when using Whatsapp. Therefore due to these reasons, the use of Whatsapp in an official capacity is not advisable.[/I]

    So not advisable but not against the rules it seems. I wonder how many know about the broadcast feature and use it.
    I have to say in terms of communicating with adult players it is brilliant.

    In our case, the parents have all consented to join the group so in my view, they are consenting to their phone number being shared. For a panel of 20 underage players, there are 30 parents in the group so the likelihood of a dodgy post is minimal and the poster would be identified very quick if it happened.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 6,195 ✭✭✭ Flinty997


    The other problem with WhatsApp is that its own owned by Facebook. Who already had a breach, so you'd have to wonder about WhatsApp.

    https://www.irishtimes.com/business/technology/thousands-urged-to-sue-facebook-in-mass-action-over-leaked-data-1.4538629
    https://www.forbes.com/sites/carlypage/2021/01/13/whatsapp-clarifies-facebook-data-sharing-as-users-flock-to-rival-signal/?sh=929441516396

    Signal and Telegram seems to be the leading alternatives.


  • Registered Users Posts: 526 ✭✭✭ Fine Cheers


    Our club are using Clubforce for everything now I believe, website, lotto, membership etc and the plan is to use their team communication system also via their app.


  • Registered Users Posts: 774 ✭✭✭ Deskjockey


    Our club are using Clubforce for everything now I believe, website, lotto, membership etc and the plan is to use their team communication system also via their app.
    Apart from data privacy nutters, nobody seems to have an issue with sharing their phone number with a medium sized group of like minded parents. We asked all parents to confirm their consent last year to use WhatsApp pointing out the sharing of phone numbers etc, and pointing out that if people so wished they could receive updates by text instead. Everyone opted for the WhatsApp option.

    I can understand if a guard or someone didn't want to share their number


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,787 ✭✭✭ big_drive


    What I would do it set it that only admins can write messages

    Put up information about training , games, etc.

    If there's an issue with a child away etc let parent contact you directly. Don't let it be a forum where a parent can potentially say something stupid in front of others. I've heard of groups descending into chaos with inappropriate jokes etc posted into the group


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,962 ✭✭✭ rpurfield


    dobman88 wrote: »
    We've been told to stop using WhatsApp and start using ClubZap but it's a pain in the hole. Shockingly bad interface and takes an age to load.

    The team kept a WhatsApp group but manager said he can't post training/game updates there anymore, even though nobody has an issue using it.

    Same with us, but when things closed down last March it seemed Club Zap fell off the radar, which is no harm.

    For the OP someone else mentioned leaving it on Admin only which is grand but won't be helpful if you're looking to get an idea of numbers attending for a match or session. Also warn parents that you can see the Health Questionnaire they fill out so they don't need to let you know in the group that its done. Had to mute one of the groups last week for a while over that one ;)


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  • Registered Users Posts: 435 ✭✭ searay


    Telegram is much better for this kind of thing

    I would agree but everybody has Whatsapp and it suits people who aren't tech savy so we know whe we send it that people are getting the message.

    Is anyone aware of a club that has switched completedly to just using Foireann?


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,195 ✭✭✭ Flinty997


    Some of the dedicated "sports" apps seem to have woeful interfaces.

    There is a lot of noise and spam on the GAA whatsapp groups I've used.
    So much that I run them muted all the time. So once the week is over I clear the chat.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,787 ✭✭✭ big_drive


    rpurfield wrote: »
    Same with us, but when things closed down last March it seemed Club Zap fell off the radar, which is no harm.

    For the OP someone else mentioned leaving it on Admin only which is grand but won't be helpful if you're looking to get an idea of numbers attending for a match or session. Also warn parents that you can see the Health Questionnaire they fill out so they don't need to let you know in the group that its done. Had to mute one of the groups last week for a while over that one ;)

    If you want an idea on numbers for session or matches you do following.
    You explain the procedure to parents at start that you'll assume everyone is attending unless you hear directly from them. Only contact directly if not attending, makes it very straightforward


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