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Demystifying the family group chat

It’s 2019 and we live in a world where we can converse with multiple people at the same in one group message virtually. What a time to be alive, huh? It’s never been easier to stay in touch with your loved ones, wherever they are in the world. Or more cost-effective, even.

What is a group chat – it’s in the name itself ‘group’ ‘chat’. It’s one message group where you can talk to heaps of people at the same time. It’s like a forum but only accessible to you and who you choose to add on it. Everything you post on the group chat will be seen by everyone in the group so if it’s not appropriate for all then it’s best to save that thought and send it privately to the individual instead.

How to start one – there are a few different platforms that can host a group chat. You can do it through good old-fashioned text messaging or iMessage if you’re an Apple user. You can also create an account on What’s App or Viber. The most popular and convenient place to host a group chat, though, is through Facebook messenger. Most of us are already on their platform so it makes it easier to use because chances are, your family is already on your list of friends. Most of these platforms are also free to use – all you need is an internet connection.

Who to add – now this one is totally up to you! It’s your group chat, after all. Once you’ve decided on a platform, it’s time to get adding! While you can add as many people as you want. It’s easier to start with just the immediate family. The last thing you want is to include everyone in and have them feel left out of the family discussion.

Family group chat etiquette

  • Thou shall not spam – don’t send the same message three times. Don’t pass on chain mail. Don’t send 10 individual photos at a time. It’s harder to keep up with a group message thread if it’s full of spam and you run the risk of missing out on important information if you’ve got to go through dozens of messages just to find it.
  • Thou shall review their message before sending – there’s nothing worse than accidentally sending something to the wrong person, right? With a family group chat, you’re not only accidentally sending it to the wrong person, but accidentally sending it to a group of people. So double, triple check everything before you hit send!
  • Thou shall not expect immediate replies – it’s easy to forget that sometimes the people on your group chat are on different timezones, or they might have heaps of things to do so they might not be connected all the time. Sure it’s a group chat and it’s instant, but remember that people have lives outside their phones too!
  • Thou shall know when to private message – sometimes things just isn’t for everyone to know about. If you need to deliver delicate news or talk about a private matter, don’t put it on the group chat. Instead, message the individual privately. You’re not only saving them from potential awkwardness, but keeping the family group chat a positive and safe environment for the family.

A family group chat is a great way to stay in touch because it’s instant and you can do so much more than just ‘chat’. You can add photos to accompany your anecdotes, videos, and even do a group call! It’s definitely a great way to keep homesickness at bay.