Google Docs is becoming a popular secret communication tool for teenagers. Parents and teachers, unaware of their chat function, assume that students just take notes.


When Skyler's school kids want to say something to a friend in class, they do not scratch a note on a small piece of paper and send it across the room. They use Google Docs.

"We do not really get any more physical grades," said Skyler, 15, who, like all the other students in the story, is identified by a pseudonym.

While more and more laptops are found in middle and high schools, educators use Google Docs to do collaborative exercises and help students follow the lesson plan. Students, however, use it to organize ongoing conversations at the back of teachers.

Flirting on Google Doc Chat >>>>>>

– Neta Guey 🤟🏽 (@Crispy_Cruzito) March 1, 2019

Some teens told me that they used Google Docs to chat whenever they had to tidy up their phone, but they knew their friends would be on their computer. Sometimes they use the service's live chat feature, which does not open by default and many teachers are unaware that it exists. They will also be able to take advantage of the fact that Google allows users to highlight certain phrases or words, then comment them through a pop-up window to the right: they clone a Google shared document from a teacher, and then discuss in the comments. it therefore appears to the casual viewer that he is only taking notes on the lesson plan. If a teacher approaches to take a closer look, he can click the Solve button and the entire thread will disappear.

what the media thinks of teenagers: sexting
what teens really like: Google Docs

– dylan (@dylwack) March 18, 2018

If the project is not collaborative, the children will simply create a shared document in which they will discuss line by line in what looks like a paragraph of text. "People are just going to make a new page and talk in different fonts so that you know who's who," Skyler said. "I had a very good friend and we were in different salons. So we sent a document to each other by email and just discussed what was going on. At the end of the course, they simply delete a document or solve all the comments. It is rare that anyone backing them up like previous generations were able to store paper notes between friends.

Oh wow tell him to follow me and then discuss on google docs

– Hikmah (@ 3_hikmah) January 16, 2019

Chatting via Google Docs does not just cheat the teachers; it also deceives the parents. When everyone connects to do their homework at night, Google Docs discussions come alive. Groups of children will all collaborate on a document, while their parents think of working on a school project. As revealed by a Reddit thread in February, chatting via Google Docs is also a great way to get around a parental ban on social media.

if it's your man, why is it in my google docs discussion bar?

– ab (@ aturch21) January 3, 2019

Like the paper notes of yore, most discussions on Google Docs are mundane. Children use it to talk about school day events, plan activities for the prom, gossip, flirtation and bullying. In a blog post, Bark, an app that parents can use to monitor the use of the phone by their child, warned them that children are ganging up on other kids in Google Docs "They work in tandem to write nasty or offensive things in a Google shared document. In other cases, children create digital and private "engraving books" and invite others to contribute, leaving aside the teased child, "reads the message. But teens have stated that this type of use is rare. "People just talk about shit about teachers, or are like talking about their days. It will be the most boring thing, but it's the only way to get a message across, "Skyler said.

A group of teenagers I do not know of accidentally invited me to their Google Doc, where they rank their best friends.

– Kate Millard Evarts (@kate_evarts) February 22, 2017

Kids in the classroom who do not use Google Docs turn to the collaborative learning software they need to communicate. The online version of Microsoft Word, for example, has features similar to those of Google Docs and can be operated in the same way. Nathan, a 16-year-old from the suburbs of Philadelphia, said he and his friends "have discovered that there is a" collaborative space "on which you can upload documents to share. with your class, "in his school's favorite note-taking software, A Note. "So we just drew pictures with the highlighter tool and transferred the memes to the shared folder." Nathan said he and his classmates were excited to discover the group messaging feature of last year, because "it looks like you're productive." he added, "the disadvantage is that you do not work on what you are supposed to work, so you do nothing".

If you do not flirt with your girl about the chat feature in Google Docs for her paper you are editing together, someone else will do it.

– Blake Commanchee (@Jeremy_Wesch) January 22, 2019

Although Google Docs is the most popular communication tool for middle and high school students, most teenagers drop out of college once. Skye, a 20-year-old girl from outside Boston, said that thinking about Google Docs for chatting made her nostalgic. "Discussing Google Docs reminds us a lot when we were younger," she said. And paper notes? "I have not given a physical grade to anyone since the fifth year," she said.

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Taylor Lorenz is a writer at L & # 39; Atlantic, where she covers technology.