[smc-discuss] WhatsApp and mental torture in school communities

sankarshan sankarshan.mukhopadhyay at gmail.com
Sat Jun 6 06:08:12 PDT 2020

On Sat, 6 Jun 2020 at 17:38, Pirate Praveen <praveen at onenetbeyond.org> wrote:
> On Sat, Jun 6, 2020 at 5:27 pm, Nandakumar Edamana
> <nandakumar at nandakumar.co.in> wrote:
> > School communities are forcing WhatsApp on people who do not want to
> > use
> > it, and the whole move to free software is being hijacked by the
> > overuse
> > and mandating of WhatsApp in school communities. Anyone in this list
> > knows how bad a reputation Facebook has, especially after the
> > Cambridge
> > Analytica issue. Why can't they promote better alternatives like
> > Signal
> > ('better' based on our current understanding). Besides, there are some
> > people who don't like to use high-end technology at all, the ones like
> > my mother. I've personally witnessed she being mentally tortured to
> > buy
> > a smart phone and install WhatsApp, which, she'd managed to resist.
> >
> > Of course the school community should embrace advancements, but only
> > if
> > they aren't harmful. Better, they should promote libre alternatives
> > and
> > provide options so that everybody can participate.
> We can start with an open letter to IT at School director.
> I think for managing courses, Moodle will be a better fit than using
> WhatsApp groups I think. Also Signal is still centralized (we can't run
> our own servers if we want to interact with users on official Signal
> servers), so I recommend Matrix, which is decentralized and we already
> run our own server at poddery.com.
> I have started a cryptpad here
> https://cryptpad.fr/pad/#/2/pad/edit/CLrd8men4PdS4n9+iPs+OzBT/ we can
> add more points and finalize it.

The "shift to online" for education is now a wasteland of hasty
choices and convenience around short term goals overcoming deploying
durable and correct systems. Aside from WhatsApp for a medium of
exchange of content - homework, assignments etc there are plentiful
anecdotes of schools asking parents to open up a specific pattern
based email accounts (preferably GMail) which is proposed as an
alternative if smartphones and such are unavailable. Ad-hoc decisions
in school committees often driven by the pressure to be seen as doing
something that is modern is a good enough way to start with the part
of bad decisions.

sankarshan mukhopadhyay

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