The majority of teens today have access to a smartphone or a home computer. Most of them use social media.
Before, most teens were on Facebook. These days, however, the landscape has changed.
Mark Zuckerberg’s platform is no longer the dominant platform among teens.
In a survey last year, teens are flocking to YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat. However, in a recent report, teens are using a different platform for communication and to socialize with their peers.
What App is It?
It is a tool that we all use every day — Google Docs. Yes, it means that these kids are hiding in plain sight. According to the Atlantic, the hottest chat app among teens is Google Docs.
They utilize this app for chatting and collaborating. Writing on a paper and tossing it across the room is old school. They use Google Docs, instead, to start conversations behind their teachers’ back.
Google released its Docs suite in 2006. It means that most teens today are raised by Google.
Most teachers now are using Google Docs in classrooms. The main goal of it is to enable users or students to collaborate.
Since teachers ban social media and other messaging apps while in the classroom, students use the said app to converse with their peers unbeknownst to their teachers.
Google Docs includes a live chat function. Some teachers do not know that they exist. Then, there is the comments section that students can use to add notes.
But teens will clone it, highlight a certain statement, add their comments before passing the doc to their peers. And their teacher will not even know it.
Another tactic they use is to write a new document and share it with their peers. When the recipient got the message, he/she will just resolve the comment and it will disappear, just like Snapchat.
This discovery could help Google in finding new methods of communication that are ideal for their right audience. However, it is embarrassing for Google because it has been creating several instant messaging apps but students would opt for a word processor.
Google Docs, by the way, does not save your chat.
The Atlantic added:
“Chatting via Google Docs doesn’t just fool teachers; it also tricks parents. When everyone logs on to do homework at night, Google Docs chats come alive. Groups of kids will all collaborate on a document, while their parents believe they’re working on a school project. As a Reddit thread revealed in February,chatting via Google Docs is also a great way to circumvent a parental social-media ban.”
For kids that do not use Google Docs, they find an online version of Microsoft Word to have the same features to Google Docs. They exploited it the same way.
Teens are so smart they can easily find backdoors. They do not use those apps for illicit purposes. Rather, they are using it to explore more ways to use them. And more power to them. However, as they reach college, teens abandon Google Docs.