5 Things Parents Need to Know About Teen Group Chats

5 Things Parents Need to Know About Teen Group Chats

The communication gap that once existed between friends and family has almost disappeared. It’s been replaced with apps and messengers where kids can connect with family and friends without any barriers, virtual or otherwise.

 A huge part of these communications is the extensive group chats kids participate in. These chats allow users to consolidate chats for multiple users into a single window. But this alone does not explain the explosive popularity group chats have among the youth. 

Today, we’ll be exploring the popularity of group chats, the dangers they bring, and what parents need to know about them:

Why are Group Chats so Popular?

Group chats allow users to send instant messages to multiple people once rather than individually. Today, hundreds of group chats are common in all the popular messaging apps, such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Telegram, Snapchat, Line, Signal, and Viber. 

As previously discussed, many people interact in groups. These groups can be their family, school friends, office friends, high-school friends, a book club, sports group, or extended family groups. The topics of conversation also vary from personal to work-related, including information sharing, organizing or scheduling an event, or just everyday gossip. 

The 5 Things About Teen Group Chat Parents Need to Know

Group chats are mostly about sending quick messages to discuss events, topics, or personal issues. But kids these days can get involved in a lot of drama, bullying, and fights that you may want to get privy to as a parent. 

Kids become part of several groups, and parents are unaware of the things discussed in those groups. Your child may be about to join their first group chat or already part of dozens of groups. 

Here are the 5 things you need to know and even consider discussing them with your child

1. A Never-Ending Series of Notifications is Hard to Cope

Tech-savvy kids adapt better to the nuances of social media apps than their parents. However,  joining a group chat for the first time can perplex them even for a little while. 

Some kids are unfamiliar with the etiquette of group conversation and will message every little thought that comes to their mind. Apart from digital addiction, the excitement of letting others know about their intellect or interest will make them relay one thing through incessant messages. The group chat with their family or friends usually lits up with constant notifications of incoming messages. 

Besides the mere distraction, your child will feel pressured to keep pace with the group interaction. Mostly in groups comprising of their friends, your child will have the urge to reply and be as active as their friends. They will not only answer those things addressed to them but give an opinion of every other thing.  

Once this habit develops, every time your teen is away from the phone, they will develop a fear of missing out (FOMO) on group messages. You need to explain to them that it’s okay to sometimes keep the group chats on ‘mute’ and focus on other pressing matters at hand. 

2. Words and Phrases are Misconstrued and Intensify into an Argument

Teens usually chat in multiple groups and so tend to use short and code words to get their message through. However, as there is no tone or facial expression to go with it, the messages can sometimes be misconstrued. 

Sure, they can use various emojis, gifs, and stickers, but due to the spur of the moment, they often text without them. Moreover, in a group, multiple users can interpret that message in their own way. Your child may unintentionally try to text with a little tongue-in-cheek that other people in the group may not like. 

What may be benign slang can be taken out of context and turned into an argument within seconds. It is common for your kid to be part of a class or sports group with peers older or younger than them. 

Other kids who don’t know your teen can easily misinterpret the message and make it awkward for your child. The misunderstanding can intensify into a heated exchange of words if both parties stand their ground and don’t back down. 

3. Certain Participants Can Single Out and Bully One Kid 

Group chat allows your teen’s friends to come together and interact more frankly. Sometimes, kids in the group team up to bully and embarrass one particular kid, either by accident or on purpose. You need to know as your teen could be the kid who has to face that bullying, even from friends.  

Yes, your child can leave the group but will sadly reel from the hurtful comments and bullying they faced in the group. Furthermore, even after leaving the group, they will overthink how their friends discuss them. Also, they will miss out on all the other things discussed in the group, from hanging out to planning a movie or trip. 

Your teen becoming part of a certain group and leaving it for some reason is clear. However, there is also a chance that school friends exclude your child altogether from a group. This can hurt the feelings of the child and leave them questioning the physical and mental aspects of their personality. 

4. Use of Slang Words and Sharing of Inappropriate Content is Common

In this age of endless messaging, teens use slang and abbreviated words more than necessary. They will send funny text messages and include memes and gifs to show their eagerness. However, teens may pick out certain slang words that convey an abusive meaning and make a habit of using them while conversing with their friends. 

Your child could send inappropriate messages or memes to the group to get a laugh from their friends. The lack of maturity is also evident when kids share adult pictures, videos, or links in the chat. This activity arouses curiosity even among kids unfamiliar with this mature content. 

A report by Thorn states that kids ages 9-12 admit that they have shared their own nudes and seen nudes of other kids shared in the group. The concerning aspect for parents is teens thinking it’s normal to share nude pictures. It may begin as a harmless act of simply sharing a nude like other kids their age. However, it can develop into a perpetual habit and slide into viewing and sharing porn content. 

5. Group Chats are an Essential Part of Growing Up

As the teen grows into the latter part of adulthood, group chats become more high-risk. 

The chats will be filled with intentional and fortuitous bullying, drama, and jokes. Your child and their friends will likely argue at length, exchange heated words, and, at the next moment, decide where to have dinner.

Yet, you need to allow your teen to become part of group chats and ask them to participate actively as this develops crucial socialization skills. For some kids, group chat might be the only avenue to discuss things they didn’t get a chance to at school or the playground. 

However, you need to discuss a few things with them. First, they do not need to reply to every other thing. Second, they should avoid sharing private details about themselves and their lives. Third, they should not take every word seriously, even when the other kids mean it as a joke. However, they need to understand the difference between joking and bullying. 

How to Minimize the Dangers of Group Chats

Sooner or later, your child will become part of dozens of groups if they are not today. Allowing them this convenience without discussing the intricate details of group chats can be scary. 

Every teen thinks they can easily handle any complicated situation in the group and fend off any dangers. However, each teen thinks and reacts according to their age and mental aptitude. Your teen can easily be overwhelmed by the demands of modern-day digital messaging, particularly in groups.

Finding a balance between wanting your teen to participate in group chats and tracking their activity is challenging. XNPSY can help your kid safely navigate the group message like a breeze. This parental monitoring app has tools to keep tabs on the risky messages in group chats without you having to scroll through hundreds of other messages. 

XNSPY is designed specifically to gather and report on dangers, including cyberbullying and adult content. The app gives you access to the child’s group chat logs on multiple messaging apps, including WhatsApp, Facebook, Telegram, Snapchat, Viber, Instagram, iMessage, and more. You can log in to the dashboard and view

  • The sent and received messages in the group
  • All the photos, videos, and links that are shared
  • The time, date, and contact stamps

The screen record and screenshots feature ensures no group chat activities go unnoticed. These tools help uncover the questionable messages and media teens that appear in chats as disappearing messages. XNSPY helps you track deleted messages and even those drafted but never sent. 

You can use the instant alert feature to ensure that the teen does not use slang and abusive words to bully others. Furthermore, you can use the dashboard to view any nude photo they send or receive through the group chats. 

Final Thoughts

Group chats are common for teens to communicate and discuss things with friends and peers. However, excessive interactions can get kids entangled in cyberbullying and expose them to age-restricted content. 

You need to see if your child is mature enough to manage group chats or not. If they are, then discuss the etiquette of group chat with them. You may not have the time or effort to inspect hundreds of messages they send or receive in the groups. 

XNSPY gives you parental controls to monitor the content your child sends and shares. The app will alert you whenever the child comes across bullying or inappropriate content. You can use this opportunity to teach the kid about online safety in this modern digital age.