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Teens Share Passwords As a Form of Intimacy 533

nonprofiteer writes "The New York Times claims that the hot new trend among teenagers in love is to share passwords to their email and Facebook accounts, as the ultimate form of trust. According to Pew, 33% of teens surveyed say they do this. One expert says the pressure to share passwords is akin to the pressure to have sex. Forbes says don't do it! 'There is something pure and romantic about the idea of sharing everything, and having no secrets from one another. But it's romantic the same way that Romeo and Juliet is romantic, in a tragic, horrible, everyone-is-miserable-and-dies-at-the-end kind of way.' Sam Biddle at Gizmodo writes about which passwords are okay to share (like Netflix), but says to stay away from handing over email or Facebook passwords. 'We all need whatever scraps of privacy we have left, and your email is just that.'"
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Teens Share Passwords As a Form of Intimacy

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  • by Kenja ( 541830 ) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @01:16PM (#38749510)
    Not sure why this is news. There's a reason your record is expunged when you turn 18. Perhaps the same should apply to online accounts.
  • TOS (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TaoPhoenix ( 980487 ) <> on Thursday January 19, 2012 @01:16PM (#38749512) Journal

    Plus it's usually a thundering Terms of Service violation.

  • MySpace generation (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 19, 2012 @01:20PM (#38749582)

    I remember countless moronic dramas of high school kids claiming that their MySpace had been "hacked". By which they mean, they'd shared the password with all their friends and acquaintances... and one of their 50 odd fellow schoolmates changed their profile and changed their password.

    Surely, though, this should really be a prompt for people to have more intelligent permissions systems for web services. We handle shared bank accounts just fine, so why haven't websites and other online services come up with family accounts, sub-accounts and so on other than as an 'enterprise' feature? Proper security starts at home.

  • How stupid (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Synerg1y ( 2169962 ) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @01:21PM (#38749602)

    And in other news...divorce [] continues skyrocketing,

    Seriously kids, realize that your significant other can lock you out of your own accounts on breakup, and you can't recover everything via your phone #, pretty sure like... netflix, email providers that aren't google.

  • by forkfail ( 228161 ) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @01:23PM (#38749648)

    'We all need an illusion of whatever scraps of privacy we have left, and your email is just that.'"

    Because we sure as hell don't have any privacy left anymore.

  • Education (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 19, 2012 @01:24PM (#38749654)

    We will never be able to keep teenagers from sharing passwords with each other. It's hard wired into them. If you try to forbid it then they'll find creative ways to do so secretly.

    The best method is to have Password Sharing Education, where you teach them safe practices regarding Password Sharing. We'll have a virus epidemic if we leave it up to chance.

    Clearly Forbes is just too conservative and stuck in his ways. Password Sharing abstinence has never worked, and it never will. And why should he impose his morality on everyone else? Teenagers should be free to share their intimacy through Sharing Passwords, as long as they know the risks involved and have a proper perspective on the meaning of the act.

  • by CaptBubba ( 696284 ) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @01:26PM (#38749682)

    Giving your significant other power over your socialization and friendships on this level just seems like it is going to give even more power to those who abusively control the other partner in their relationships. Not to mention the wonders that will occur if you break up with someone and don't change your password before they upload not-so-flattering pictures and send them to all your friends.

  • Re:TOS (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 19, 2012 @01:26PM (#38749684)
    Exactly this. Post all over your Facebook account that you share all your passwords with your BF/GF then see how quickly your credit card company does the weasel dance if you ever have to make a claim for identity fraud. For my sins I did a couple of months working on phone support for the company that supports several large banks/CC companies and their policy was an instant "sorry, goodbye" if you suggested you'd shared your login details or pin number (your heart would sink when they admitted they lost their wallet and their card was in there along with their pin number scribbled on a post-it).
  • by JustinOpinion ( 1246824 ) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @01:26PM (#38749690)
    Giving out your password as a demonstration of trust is just silly. I trust my boss with work-related things, but that doesn't mean I give him the passwords to all the servers at work. Why? He doesn't need them. I trust my mom, but I don't give her my bank PIN. Why? She doesn't need it. I trust my girlfriend but I don't give her my gmail password. Why? Because she has no use for it. The difference between strangers and people I trust is that I ~would~ give friends/family secret credentials, if there was a valid need (e.g. I was sick and needed my girlfriend to perform a financial transaction for me). But giving out the details just for fun is illogical, and insecure.

    Moreover, it's more a manifestation of a lack of trust. I don't care that I don't know my girlfriend's Facebook password... because I trust her. The only boyfriends/girlfriends who want each other's passwords are those who don't trust each other: they want to check up on what the other one is posting/saying. They don't trust them enough to let them have privacy or private conversations. I've seen this happen (my sister once had a jealous boyfriend who thought she was cheating on him and thus demanded access to her email and Facebook passwords so that he could check for himself... the relationship did not last).

    Overall, this whole "if you loved me you'd give me your password" is infantile. The appropriate response is: "If you respected me you wouldn't ask for it."
  • My ex wanted this. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nadaka ( 224565 ) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @01:34PM (#38749806)

    She wanted to monitor my email and everything. Very nosy. I refused and she bitched about not trusting me. Turns out she was a cheating whore and just assumed that I had to be getting some on the side as well. She needed to verify because she could not trust because she was herself untrustworthy and insecure about it. Sharing passwords does not show trust, it shows lack of trust.

  • And just fuck off (Score:2, Insightful)

    by unity100 ( 970058 ) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @01:34PM (#38749820) Homepage Journal

    All that eavesdropping, corporate and government spying, data sharing, and people are expected to keep their data away from their loved ones, friends et cetera ? The VERY people who actually have a right and a need to know those information ? And by keeping data away from our CLOSE circle, we are going to make up for the privacy all that eavesdropping, data mining has smoked ?

    If you have the balls, as a security advisor/company/activist, take on the government and corporations. not joe joey and susan sue. leave them to share their password.

  • by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @01:35PM (#38749822) Journal

    Why did you exchange passwords in the first place? There's never a good reason to share passwords. If it ever seems like a good idea to share a password, that's a symptom of a poorly developed user permissions system.

  • by glodime ( 1015179 ) <> on Thursday January 19, 2012 @01:35PM (#38749824) Homepage

    She's married, asshole. And if she weren't, I'm sure she didn't come to Slashdot to be facetiously and pseudonymously hit on.

  • by JustinOpinion ( 1246824 ) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @01:40PM (#38749884)
    That's kinda silly. If I have a phone conversation in an empty room of a friend's house, then according to you it's not a private communication because I'm having it in a room controlled by someone else, and they could have bugged the room? Or if I write a personal letter in my office at work, it's not private because my employer may have installed a secret monitoring camera?

    The fact is that there are social conventions afoot: for example that my friends don't bug their houses and that my employer hasn't installed secret cameras (some of these conventions are in fact backed-up by laws). As such, even though someone ~could~ intercept my communication, it is presumptively private and people who circumvented that would be accused of violating my privacy.

    Similarly with networks. It's certainly possible for my friend to keylog their computer, or make copies of all traffic that passes through their router. But most sensible people would assume that this is not happening, and that doing so would be an invasion of the privacy of others.

    So, email is private. That doesn't mean it's un-interceptable (neither is postal mail: it's trivial to grab someone else's mail and read it). But those who intercept it are violating privacy. (Of course if privacy is important to you, then you should take extra steps (e.g. encryption). But communications that you target towards a specific person are presumptively private.)
  • Re:Netflix (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tnk1 ( 899206 ) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @01:40PM (#38749906)

    There is no real positive here. This is just like sending naked photos of yourself to your bf/gf. It makes no damn sense to *give* someone blackmail material on you that can be copied easily and posted for the whole world to see if they get pissed at you. They do it because there is the short term feeling of trust shared between them, but with no conception of the long term consequences involved. In a way it's like the Romeo and Juliet syndrome: even though we have never had another relationship, we know we are perfect for one another, so you're not allowed to take any precautions, because otherwise it means you don't actually love me. You have to go whatever extreme I do, because we are in True Love, whether that be giving away passwords or committing suicide.

    tl;dr: Teens think because they know more than babies do that they know everything. They haven't got a clue.

  • by ColdWetDog ( 752185 ) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @01:48PM (#38750034) Homepage

    The problem there is you just posited a perfectly reasonable adult argument.

    Teenager brains don't (typically) work that way. There still viewing the world through a flood of hormones and lack of experience.

    In the perfect world, we would come up with a system to allow the teenager brain to interact with the real world without too many bad outcomes.

  • by pclminion ( 145572 ) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @01:51PM (#38750076)

    That would be the difference between A asking B for their password, and B offering A their password. The first instance is a sign of distrust. The second is a sign of trust.

    No, the second is a sign of a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of healthy human relationships, trust, and individuality. It is pure co-dependence. It's a form of emotional hedging which leads to emotional blackmail -- "I gave you my PASSWORDS! How can you DO this to me!"

    It's kids being naive stupid fucks, that's all.

    I used to keep two very big secrets from my wife. Those secrets put a terrible strain on our relationship. Eventually, I came out with it, I was met with understanding and forgiveness, and our relationship improved tremendously. I now hold no secrets from my wife, but I sure as hell do not give her my passwords nor does she give me mine. It has nothing to do with trust, it is about PRIVACY. If she wants to know something about me she can always ASK ME.

  • Re:XKCD (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ciderbrew ( 1860166 ) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @01:53PM (#38750096)
    Shh, they'll have to go back and read 1005 of them!
  • Re:Savages (Score:4, Insightful)

    by maple_shaft ( 1046302 ) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @01:56PM (#38750136)

    "Civilization is the progress toward a society of privacy. The savage's whole existence is public, ruled by the laws of his tribe. Civilization is the process of setting man free from men." Ayn Rand

    Ah yes because every man is an island unto himself, no? A tribe does not need privacy because everybody in the tribe depends on each other for survival, you can't depend on those you don't trust, you can't trust those you do not know, you cannot know those who are private.

    Civilization only requires privacy because there are far too many people to know meaning you can only trust and depend on very few people. What is more fundamentally human? We evolved to live and survive in tribes not cities, how many feel at place and purposeful in society as compared to those who live in tribes? Do you really feel that Rand was a happy fulfilled person?

    We can decry the actions of these teens as stupid, naive and foolish and we would probably be correct, but consider that the things a teenager most desires above all else is autonomy, purpose, and belonging. Sharing is a primal instinct that we instinctually do and emotionally require to feel close and secure to others. Civilization is a cold bitch, and it is hard to feel like an accepted member, much easier with a clique of friends that you wish to share everything with.

  • by forkfail ( 228161 ) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @02:01PM (#38750222)

    Two coming of age talks:

    1. The birds and the bees.

    2. Internet security.

  • by SJHillman ( 1966756 ) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @02:03PM (#38750254)

    Teens that read Forbes probably have neither the time nor the ability to forge an intimate enough relationship in the first place

  • by GreenTom ( 1352587 ) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @02:06PM (#38750312)
    I'll go against the grain and say this might be a good thing. Isn't being a teenager about making stupid mistakes and suffering painful lessons while still in a somewhat protected environment? Public humiliation at the hands of a bitter ex will teach you more about online security (and relationships in general) than a hundred lectures.
  • Re:Netflix (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sourcerror ( 1718066 ) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @02:10PM (#38750352)

    Everyone thinks they know everything except geniuses.

  • by GreyWolf3000 ( 468618 ) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @02:14PM (#38750428) Journal

    I have learned this same lesson but not quite as painfully.

    A thief thinks everyone else steals.
    A manipulator thinks everyone else manipulates.
    An adulterer thinks everyone else cheats.

    I'm sure the reason is part rationalization, part acting out whatever misbehavior caused them to develop those harmful habits.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 19, 2012 @02:22PM (#38750572)

    invite him hunting.
    even faster

  • Re:Netflix (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @02:31PM (#38750748) Homepage

    There is no real positive here. This is just like sending naked photos of yourself to your bf/gf. It makes no damn sense to *give* someone blackmail material on you that can be copied easily and posted for the whole world to see if they get pissed at you.

    You can't think of a single positive benefit of getting your partner sexually aroused looking at you? You don't think there's any relationship saved, intensified or even started by receiving or having erotic pictures of your partner? Long-distance relationships, temporary absences, love letters with a picture saying more than a thousand words? People have done that since the 19th century you know, shortly since they invented photography. Okay be the cynic and say the benefits don't outweigh the risks, particularly now that it can go all over the Internet but you'd be pretty blind to not see how it could help in courting women.

  • by TheSpoom ( 715771 ) <> on Thursday January 19, 2012 @02:42PM (#38750954) Homepage Journal

    My wife manages a teen drop-in center. Oh, the crap I hear about... Anyway, their relationships average about a week, and their definition of "trust" is "stay away from the opposite sex or I will go publicly and aggressively crazy." This illustrates a need for classes about how to avoid codependency and what abuse and manipulation in a relationship looks like. But all the middle and high schools are almost solely focused on studying their students up for the standardized tests, so once again, thank Bush for fucking up society.

  • Re:How stupid (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TheSpoom ( 715771 ) <> on Thursday January 19, 2012 @02:45PM (#38751012) Homepage Journal

    Yeah, you don't want to be in family court and have a penis. It's not going to work out well for you.

  • by DaveGod ( 703167 ) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @02:46PM (#38751022)

    You "trusting" your partner with your password because you do not mind sharing what you say is one thing. I'd suggest it's unwise, it's highly prone to misunderstandings and perhaps more an indication of lack of trust than actual trust (where sharing the password wouldn't be necessary). But, that's your prerogative.

    But the thing is you're now breaching your trust with the people emailing you. You're sharing what THEY say, and you haven't even had the opportunity to make a judgement first.

    Actually I'd say breaching your trust with others is about all you're doing. You know that you have given your partner access, so you're not going to write anything you would not want them to read. But other people emailing you do not necessarily know that, they think their correspondence is private. At an absolute minimum people trust you to use your judgement before you share their information with your partner.

  • by amicusNYCL ( 1538833 ) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @02:48PM (#38751100)

    What stops you from changing password upon break-up?

    What stops you is the other person logging in and changing your password before you can.

  • by sirlark ( 1676276 ) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @03:29PM (#38751760)
    It doesn't matter if your crimila/government records are sealed, expunged or otherwise made unavailable. Your facebook account, and your friends and ex-friends facebook accounts still exist. And those compromising photos too...

Nothing succeeds like the appearance of success. -- Christopher Lascl