Is it normal for the OC to be on a WhatsApp group with under 18 NCOs and some other staff?

Can’t see the issue, if it’s used as an admin, etc group in the same way that some units use Facebook groups.

It’s private WhatsApp messages (or groups with only one member of staff) that would be a matter for concern.

My only concern is that the OC mobile number will be visible to all on the group, but they probably have that through other channels. As @MattB says it’s the private one on one messages that’s the issue

All our staff are in the NCO WhatsApp. They know not to message us 1 to 1 regardless of age.

It’s called moving with the times. WhatsApp is widely used not just in the cadets but in the Armed Forces too!

…much to the delight of the FYB community.

E2E Encryption is great if you forget that screenshots exist. Always found it odd that WhatsApp doesn’t block screenshots.

You can also copy and forward messages, so while interception isn’t possible, you still need to trust the recipient, so from a privacy perspective it’s still not that strong.

…but that’s all another conversation. Sorry.

Like all electronic communication methods, if you don’t want a record of it you probably shouldn’t send it at all!


And it’s completely hated by everyone because the chain of command think they have control 24/7.

That’s what daily orders are for. There’s no need for military orders and details to be passed on civilian apps and phones.

Internal-sqn staff / SNCO = perfect for quick discussion items / are you available / short-notice change of plans / mini-bus fuel state / whatever.

Orders, yes - but it’s much easier to have a discussion that way.

I’d agree that it’s easy to over-use such channels though.

Well all cadets will have that on the child protection card or the a5 equivalent, so no biggie.

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I’m not in the Squadron group mainly for this reason, I will not provide my personal contact details to Cadets or Parents, ever.

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Use a “burner” 'phone. :wink:

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I’m not carrying a burner phone just in case little Johnnies mum wants to whinge he hasn’t been promoted!

We have a Squadron phone for Events, but it’s only turned on during an event. (And it is so old it has Snake but not WhatsApp)

There is a Squadron WhatsApp group for Cadets which has 3 members of staff in as moderators, they are all willing volunteers.

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Im aware of a couple of WhatsApp groups my cadets all seem to be in. I have given the cadets a warning of the repercussions of saying something stupid on groups like this. So far no issues to report.

I am not willing to put my staff through having to moderate the utter drivel some of my lot come out with so i leave them to it.

But then Whazzap is safer than Facebook?

One of the problems is staff could write things that are interpreted by the reader and bite them back later. It happens with cadets and causes enough problems.
There is also a problem that these could be seen or passed to others without the consent of the writer. I imagine that a number candidates in the upcoming GE will be hung by the media for something they said or did on SM, long before they even considered standing for public office.

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I would say that staff being on WhatsApp group is fine for Squadron use but be aware the usage age is 16. Most cadets will have it but you don’t want to be in a position where the Squadron is telling under 16 cadets they have to get it.

The cadets have these things between themselves and that’s where the suggestion would be and then down to parents to decide.

I do understand the common “I’m not giving my personal number to cadets/parents” stand.
Nothing wrong with that at all…

Though I would say personally that I’ve been using the same phone number for about 17 years and it appears on the JIs of every event I run (because I’m not particularly worried about it). Thus far I have never received a phone call from a cadet or parent which wasn’t totally appropriate and limited only to the event - such as notifying of late arrival at the coach pickup, etc.