Twitter user @IjeomaOluo shared the insight online and her tweet resonated with many other parents, as she has more than 6,000 likes and hundreds of replies.
Google Docs are similar to Microsoft Word documents, but they can be shared and edited with others at the same time from a computer, phone or tablet connected to the internet.
“My 10-year-old created a shared Google Doc to chat with his friends and it’s the most adorably nerdy solution to ‘my mum won’t let me have a social media account’ that I’ve seen in a while,” the mum tweeted on 13 March.
After the mum’s tweet, other parents got involved in the conversation and explained their kids did this too. Many parents felt the new way of chatting to friends was a good thing, because you can share the doc with people you know rather than having random people you don’t know adding or following you.
Other parents shared snippets of how their kids use it, such as using designated colours for certain people (so cute), sharing photos and organising playground games.
Other parents who hadn’t heard of kids using Google Docs to chat, thought it was a great idea.
And some said it reminded them of old-school communicating they did when they were children.
Commenting on the idea of kids using Google Docs as a way to chat to friends online, Carolyn Bunting, CEO of Internet Matters, told HuffPost UK that parents should still make sure they’re aware of what their children are doing on these docs. “It’s often tempting to think social media refers to the likes of Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat but there are a series of less well-known apps and platforms that also allow children to communicate and share online,” she said. “This is why parents need to ensure they talk to their children about online safety before they have access to a device and crucially stay in tune with what they’re getting up to by having ongoing conversations.
“As children find different ways to communicate with friends online, it’s important to remind them to be aware of who they are sharing content with and to only share with people they know.”
Things to consider with Google Docs:
If you’re interested in suggesting the option to your children, it’s worth remembering that your son or daughter will need a Google account to be able to use Google Docs. This is separate to having a gmail account and you can sign up using your own email address to get a Google account (see here).
Google states that the minimum age requirement to own a Google Account is 13, the same as the majority of other social media platforms.
For more information on how to keep your children safe online visit internetmatters.org.