Apparently Password Sharing is ‘a Thing’ with Teens!

Things like split heart necklaces for shared love used to be common, or swapping high school or college rings, or a shirt or other things. Apparently the new sign of trust, love and commitment is … sharing online passwords.

According to the New York Times article:

The digital era has given rise to a more intimate custom. It has become fashionable for young people to express their affection for each other by sharing their passwords to e-mail, Facebook and other accounts. Boyfriends and girlfriends sometimes even create identical passwords, and let each other read their private e-mails and texts.

They say they know such digital entanglements are risky, because a souring relationship can lead to people using online secrets against each other. But that, they say, is part of what makes the symbolism of the shared password so powerful.

“It’s a sign of trust,” Tiffany Carandang, a high school senior in San Francisco, said of the decision she and her boyfriend made several months ago to share passwords for e-mail and Facebook. “I have nothing to hide from him, and he has nothing to hide from me.”

“That is so cute,” said Cherry Ng, 16, listening in to her friend’s comments to a reporter outside school. “They really trust each other.”

We do, said Ms. Carandang, 17. “I know he’d never do anything to hurt my reputation,” she added.

Of course, adults know that in spite of the best intentions, the passions that fuel these great acts of sharing are too often fleeting … and too often take a negative turn when relationships sour:

The stories of fallout include a spurned boyfriend in junior high who tries to humiliate his ex-girlfriend by spreading her e-mail secrets; tensions between significant others over scouring each other’s private messages for clues of disloyalty or infidelity; or grabbing a cellphone from a former best friend, unlocking it with a password and sending threatening texts to someone else.

There are some interesting stories about friends sharing to block access to Facebook while they were supposed to be studying, but too often the implied basis is a lack of trust: you each open yourself up and by doing so you can ensure the other isn’t hiding things.

But as mentioned, when things eventually change in the relationship there is too often the temptation to seek retribution through online vengeance. And while logging into someone else’s account and posting a few embarrassing things might seem harmless, in this age where more and more employers do thorough online searches of applicant’s history, the wrong posts could end up costing someone a job or even a career depending on the nature of things.

One suggestion in the article is what I always tell my kids – blame me. I’ll be the ‘mean dad’ who won’t let you share passwords or whatever. Deflect it on me, which makes it easier on them.

What about you? Have you seen this sharing going on?

Source: New York Times

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