While social media platforms like Facebook and WhatsApp are effective tools for parents of schoolchildren to communicate with one another, the information shared on these is never completely exclusive and secure. Photographs, contact details and discussions on these platforms can be easily accessed by a third party. To avoid this, a tech-savvy parent in Bengaluru has developed a communication app exclusively for parents of school-going children.
Mahesh Vorkady was always keen on interacting with parents of children, who study in the same class as his 11-year-old daughter Vibha. Wary of reaching out to them through social media and compromising on privacy and security of their children, he created the mobile phone app Talkative Parents in 2014.
After some fine-tuning, it was launched in June this year. Since then, 700 parents and more than 500 schools have registered on it.
Talkative Parents allows parents to pool resources, share information and discuss topics that are relevant to the child’s class.
“We desperately needed a common platform to share our thoughts, information, opinions, problems, etc. In parent-teacher meetings, we missed people and were unable to communicate with one another in such a short span of time,” says the 42-year-old. “With incidents of child abuse in Bengaluru schools being reported, it triggered parents’ concern.
The app was born out of the need for opening lines of communication, knowledge sharing, solving problems, and bridging the communication gap that existed.”
Levin Agera, whose children study in Vidyashilp School, says, “Being an involved parent of two school-going children, I always felt the need to stay in touch with other parents from my children’s classes and school. We needed something exclusive and safe. This gives us just that and more.” Revati Gore, whose children study at Vidyaniketan School, says, “I am a working mother and don’t find the time to look for other parents to make a connection. This unique grouping system takes off the dependency and lets us connect and communicate.”
The USP of Talkative Parents is that it connects parents only of the same class and section automatically. No personal information is shared within the app. Parents can receive notifications and announcements from schools through the app’s notice board feature. Schools can register on talkativeparents.com and send out notices, documents, pictures and files to targeted groups through a seamless, quick and single input system.
“We spoke to 800 parents and there was a tremendous response. They were enthusiastic about this common empowering platform. But schools have not jumped to this idea as they have a lot of reservations about such a concept while some schools are totally opposed to it, feeling their rights will be curtailed,” says Vorkady. Prior to Talkative Parents, he started a design company called veeville.com, in which he is now a stakeholder.
He says that most schools “are still stuck with emails for communication with parents. A school bus toppled over recently and children were hurt. This was a genuine accident where the driver lost control of the bus, but it was reported that he was drunk and had caused the accident. Rumours did the rounds and the school had no idea what was happening. This could have been avoided if the right message had been communicated on a dedicated app like ours,” adds Vorkady.
To promote the app, Vorkady has spoken to 8,000 schools across India. He has received more than 150 requests, some from schools in the UK, Australia and the UAE.
“We are not charging money for the app. Even without schools on board, we can run this. But we hope to see them on board. It takes time for any new concept to be accepted,” he says.