If a parent has SMS enabled in the Contacts section then they'll be receiving your Direct Messages by SMS.
We have a separate guide on the basics of SMS, which we'd recommend you read if you haven't already. It explains how attachments and special characters are handled when a message is sent via SMS.
1. When you send a DM, there's a character counter to the bottom-left of the box where you type your message. An important thing to remember is that 160 characters = 1 SMS.
If you've added a Custom Tag to your message you'll notice that a warning triangle appears next to the character count. This is because, the presence of a custom tag (e.g. Student Name) means that we can no longer guarantee the length of your message.
The number of characters that we include in the counter is based on the average length of each tag. For example, the average student first name is 6 characters long and so that's how many we count when you add that particular custom tag.
2. After sending your DM, the Read By pop-up shows you how many SMS credits your message used up. You access the Read By info by clicking on the "About X Students" button on your sent message on the View DM screen.
3. As described in our guide "Who are my Direct Messages sent to?" a copy of your message is sent for each student you selected. Using the same example as we did in that guide, a message sent about Bart and Lisa Simpson would be delivered to Homer, twice (one copy about Bart and the other about Lisa).
If the message you composed was 2 SMS in length, this is what you'd see...
- 1 contact, Homer Simpson.
- 2 copies, one for Bart and one for Lisa.
- 4 SMS credits, because your message was 2 SMS long and so each of those copies used up 2 SMS credits.