Autopsy on six parent chats: “Bizum” is the most repeated in a private school; “meeting” in a public

Six chats of parents of students between 3 and 13 years old, in public, private and concerted schools, located in large cities and in towns with a single center. Do they talk about the same thing? Absolutely. To verify this, six conversations from the 2021/2022 academic year have passed through the sieve of a word processor that counts the most repeated words.

For families with younger children, health comes first: they quickly enter the parodied “get well” loop. Parents of older children speak less and less. In the private school the most repeated words are “bizum”, “meets” and the atmosphere is friendly and carefree. In an audience with parents who use terms like “dynamics” and “methodology”, “meeting” is the most repeated word, there is a lot of debate and the tone is more intense and above all, more extensive: they exchanged 74,000 words; the smallest class, with the boys already in high school, barely exceeded 1,000. “The digital is just a reflection of the physical,” he says. María Zabala, author of the book Parenting in the digital age. Just as the age, the sociological profile or the personality of the parents is noticeable on the street, it will be noticed in the chat (the one who is insistent and the one who is shy will be in both places). According to the expert, coexistence is good in most chats, “but it is the exceptions that reach the headlines and go viral.” She offers some advice: “Behave as you would in an analog meeting.”

To delve into what makes us different, those terms that did not provide differential information, such as “thank you”, which was the most repeated in all the chats, have been removed from the word clouds. Also the recurring “class”, “school”, “mother” and “father”, since they were part of the names of the contacts (example: Fulanita mama cole). Of course, “mothers” and “mums” appeared much more than “fathers” and “dads.” In all the chats, women were the majority, absolute in the case of the rural school.

Although only one mother described her class chat as a “nightmare”, in order to preserve the identity of the six sources (one was a man), all proper and geographical names and those details that could be revealing of very specific situations have been omitted.

The most repeated words in a chat in a first-year class.

“Let it get better”: The chat of the “kids” who catch everything

1st child (3 and 4 years). Public school. 139 pages/37,631 words

The meme made flesh: the word “improve” (from “let it get better”) is repeated more than a hundred times among the 37,000 in the chat of this class of 1st year of a public school in a coastal town (20,000 inhabitants). Children aged 3 and 4 are infected more than older ones, and especially new mothers are more concerned than experts. The combination results in a conversation riddled with “fevers”, “boogers”, “cheers” and “bad guys”. There is more covid jargon than in the other groups (“positive”, “confine”, “antigens”) and also “flu”, “diarrhea”, “conjunctivitis” and even eight mentions of “emergencies”.

The teacher’s own name also appears a hundred times, always in an affectionate way. “Gift” is the third most repeated word and does not refer to a toy for a child, but to a long debate about whether the teacher in question would prefer a Christmas basket or some embroidered towels.

Most repeated words in a chat of parents of third year children in a British private school.
Most repeated words in a chat of parents of third year children in a British private school.

“Bizum done!”: The conversation “happy” of a british

3rd child (5 and 6 years). Private school. 162 pages / 42,000 words

The chat of this class of 3rd Infant (5 and 6 years old) of a British school is the “happiest” of all. In addition to this adjective, others abound such as “great”, “terrific”, “phenomenal”, “super” or “cool”. There is a lot of “hahaha” and there is hardly any health drama, nor any tension between parents or with the center. The three most used words are “bizum”, “cumple” and “regalo”, since a large part of the conversation revolves around the system of common presents: the parents of the birthday boy buy the gift and the guests (who are still the whole class) send 5 or 10 euros for the apps banking.

The word thank you appears 751 times (among 42,000), many more than in all the others. It also appears in two languages. Thank you! It is repeated twenty times. It is not the only word that slips into English, not so much because there are foreign parents as because of the anglicisms that the Spanish interject (“please”, “show”, “snack”, “parents” and of course “party”). It is the only one in which the words “uniform” and “route” are read.

The most repeated words in the chat of parents of a class of 1st grade public school.
The most repeated words in the chat of parents of a class of 1st grade public school.

“Let’s request an urgent meeting”: “Families” with a problem

2nd grade (7 and 8 years old). Public school. 216 pages / 74,119 words

The longest chat of the six is ​​almost twice as long as the next and 74 times as long as the shortest. The fundamental reason is that this 2nd grade class (7 and 8 years old) has a “problem”, a “situation” (both words are often repeated). The teacher and the management of the public school, located in a central neighborhood of a city in northern Spain, appear a lot and not exactly for the good.

The “meetings” (the second most repeated word) are requested, set up parallel to the official ones, passionately attended and then discussed extensively on WhatsApp. The climate is reflected in words that hardly appear in other chats such as “concern”, “fights”, “conflict” or “discomfort”.

The most frequent word, “families” (which is the generic for all greetings), shows that the participants seek the inclusion of all types of parents, unlike other chats where fathers are spoken of in the universal masculine or mothers to be the most present. It is also the chat in which terms like “children” either “kids”… and one of the few in which words like “AFA” are repeated [Asociación de Familias de Alumnos]“commission”, “assembly”, “proposal” or “cooperative”.

For the technology and family expert, María Zabala, the extension is not bad per se: “There is a certain belief that in WhatsApp the one who uses it well is the one who uses it little, and this is not necessarily the case, simply an involved and proactive parent will participate. more than another more shy or disconnected from the day to day of their children”. However, the expert points out that we must be careful: while she worries us about how our children are exposed on Tik Tok or Instagram, we tell a lot of things about them in WhatsApp groups.

Lastly, the expert believes that involvement implies a change in the entire educational system, which has been transformed to keep them informed and encourage their participation. Thus, in the conversation of these parents, terms such as “learning”, “methodology”, “dynamics”, “literacy”, “coexistence” or “pedagogy” stand out, which hardly appear in other groups.

The most repeated words in the chat of parents of a class of 4th grade of a rural school.
The most repeated words in the chat of parents of a class of 4th grade of a rural school.

“Girls, do you have to bring cardboard?”: They take care of everything in town

4th grade (9 and 10 years old). Rural public school. 62 pages, 21,732 words

“Girls, do we have to bring cardboard?”: They take care of everything in town. “Moms of 4th grade” is called the chat, without half measures. It is what it is: all the members are women, residents of a mountain town of about 2,000 inhabitants. The most repeated word is “girls”, as they greet and refer to each other. It is a moderate chat in length (21,732 words), compared to the previous ones, and it has fewer repetitions. There are no obsessive topics and the conversation is eminently practical and varied: they mention more than in other “cardboards”, “markers” or “notebooks” that you have to “take” to class (and where to buy them) and the applications and links for digitally see the progression of the children. There is some covid (“positive”, “test”…), birthdays (which are celebrated at the town’s “burger”) and an outbreak of lice, with a small quarrel about whether to reveal who is the carrier.

In another tense moment, one of the “moms” complains that her son has been insulted by a group of classmates. Nobody answers the message and an uncomfortable silence lasts for days. Apparently, the matter was dealt with in person, explains one of the mothers: “In the town these things are not transferred to the chat, here they are all neighbors or relatives, they have known each other all their lives.. It is discussed in the street and it is not always a conversation of good vibes”.

The closeness is noticeable (there are many “pretty” and “wapa”) and toponymy abounds, names of nearby towns (as in “can someone take me up/down to such a place?”) or local landmarks outside the school such as the pharmacy, the soccer field or the market.

The most repeated words in the chat of a sixth grade class of a public school.
The most repeated words in the chat of a sixth grade class of a public school.

“Do you have the link to the institute’s application form?”: The bureaucracy of the last year of primary school

6th Primary (11 and 12 years old). Public school. 26 pages / 8,483 words

“The older the children are, the more parents spend chatting,” explains one of the mothers of this “very sensible” group of sixth graders from a neighborhood public school. Although there are still some children’s “louse”, the word “birthday” disappears completely: at this age they are only celebrated in subchat related.

Like many mothers with more than one child, she sees enormous differences between her chats: “In the one with the little one they spend the whole day asking about attachment, whether or not to have homework, they have me fried… This one from the older one goes to the useful , I think it’s because the other’s parents are mostly first-timers and younger and are more up for debate.”

In the last year of primary school, the most repeated word looks to the future: “Institute”. Most of the terms revolve around the bureaucracy that surrounds this passage to school adolescence: “form”, “adscription”, “application”, “secretariat”… And the “graduation” rite, with its “ photos”, their “borderline” and their “caps”.

The concise chat of parents of the first year of ESO in a concerted school.
The concise chat of parents of the first year of ESO in a concerted school.

“Only for practical reasons”: In high school, the bare minimum

1st year of ESO (12 and 13 years old). Religious concerted school. 3 pages / 1070 words

Most class chats disappear when you get to high school, the kids already have their own mobile, educators promote their autonomy, parents can no longer… Those that last beyond, like this one from a prestigious concerted center religious, they are concise. This starts with a clear statement of intent by the class delegate and sole administrator: “This is intended to be a low-profile chat,” she says as soon as it begins. It will only deal with practical, logistical issues or messages from the tutor, which is why the most repeated word. Except for the delegate, summarizing a couple of AFA meetings and offering details about a week of camp, the rest of the parents just say thank you and place an emoji clapping, those silent applause are the loudest part of this conversation.

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Autopsy on six parent chats: “Bizum” is the most repeated in a private school; “meeting” in a public