NEW YORK CITY (NBC News) — School monitoring services, like Bark and Gaggle, are discovering a trend of students using Google Docs as secret chat rooms for inappropriate content and online harassment.
Here’s how it works: all students have to do is open up Google Docs and invite friends to become collaborators on a certain project. There, students can share text and upload photos, creating a space for cyberbullying.
“Sexual content can be found, expressions of depression, anxiety [and] even drug deals can go down,” said Titania Jordan with Bark.
In some instances, students are creating digital burn books for online harassment.
“At Bark, we’ve seen over 60,000 instances of children using that platform to cyberbully one another,” said Jordan.
Some schools utilize monitoring services to scan for this behavior, but without it, students can easily delete content without a trace.
A Google spokesperson told NBC News that schools can also create blocked word lists for G Suite products, including Google Docs, to allow multiple administrators to be notified when those words are used.