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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 elrous0 ( 869638 ) * on Thursday January 19, 2012 @01:15PM (#38749494)

    You're just a jealous bitch, mom! You don't understand that Daniel and me are going to last FOREVER!! I HATE YOU!!! I HATE YOU!!

  • Netflix (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ShakaUVM ( 157947 ) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @01:16PM (#38749500) Homepage Journal

    Wait, it's okay to share your Netflix password...?

    I can think of at least three reasons why that's a bad idea.

    • by earls ( 1367951 ) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @01:33PM (#38749790)

      It's a serious crime in TN! Don't get caught, lovers!

    • Wait, it's okay to share your Netflix password...?
      I can think of at least three reasons why that's a bad idea.

      Busty Trannies 1 (aka Dude looks like a lady)
      Busty Trannies 2 (aka This time she's hung)
      Busty Trannies 3 (aka The lady gets his man)

  • 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.

    • 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).
  • XKCD (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 19, 2012 @01:17PM (#38749518)

    XKCD covered this years ago

  • by sandytaru ( 1158959 ) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @01:17PM (#38749534) Journal
    And vice versa. He's a number guy, I'm a language person. So his passwords are long strings of numbers, and mine are long strings of words and symbols.
  • by SeNtM ( 965176 ) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @01:20PM (#38749580) Homepage
    My password is the same as my luggage combination [].
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 19, 2012 @01:20PM (#38749584)

    I'd much rather my kids be having sex than sharing passwords.

  • by davidwr ( 791652 ) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @01:21PM (#38749600) Homepage Journal

    Remember kiddies, using your ex-boyfriend's social networking password can be a felony!

    Heck, even using your current boyfriend's passwords with his permission may be a felony in certain circumstances, especially if a financial transaction, medical-history-information, or intentional deception of anyone is involved.

  • 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.

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

      by sandytaru ( 1158959 ) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @01:25PM (#38749670) Journal
      Happened to a friend's family a year or two ago. The husband had control of all the accounts. All of them. So he was quietly siphoning funds from his wife's accounts to his own, without telling her, and then took off one day with over six hundred thousand dollars, leaving her with a thousand in her account with the mortgage payment due in a week. That was a very, very, very messy divorce.
    • Years ago, a girl I loved dumped me after 7 years of relationship and a few months later, her sister's ex-boyfriend contacted me and gave me her e-mail address password.
      Reading her e-mails was... informative. I found out that she'd been cheating on me and her other boyfriend with some other men (complicated, I know!), and other nice things related to her present job. She and her sister shared lots of... amazing things in e-mail exchanges.

      It was an informative reading because it basically opened a somewhat s

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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."
    • 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 houghi ( 78078 ) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @02:26PM (#38750658)

      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.

      When I explain new staff about our security policies, I explain them not to give anybody their password. They say OK. Then I say "Not even to me." They start to look a bit worried. Then I say "Not even to the CEO" and then they get confused.

      When I say "Not even to the IT guy who is repairing your PC" they are completely baffled and stare at me as if I am sore sort of drugs.

      Mmm. Perhaps I must try it out and ask after a week or so if they don't give me the password they are fired. See if they give it or not.

  • by SwedishChef ( 69313 ) <[craig] [at] []> on Thursday January 19, 2012 @01:27PM (#38749700) Homepage Journal

    At least you can change the password... pretty hard to return virginity.

  • by mosb1000 ( 710161 ) <> on Thursday January 19, 2012 @01:32PM (#38749772)

    If the Feds have access to it, you might as well give your girlfriend access. At least that leaves nothing for the Feds to blackmail you with.

  • 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.

  • by cje ( 33931 ) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @02:01PM (#38750206) Homepage

    I was planning on reading Romeo and Juliet this winter.

    Now it looks like I don't have to.


    By the way, Darth Vader is Luke Skywalker's father, and Bruce Willis was dead for the whole movie.

  • 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.
  • by CAIMLAS ( 41445 ) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @02:22PM (#38750578) Homepage

    My wife and I do this. I keep her passwords on a sheet of paper in the safe. She reads mine before going to bed every night (I believe she's on chapter 2, "Routers and Switches").

  • Spouses (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Toonol ( 1057698 ) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @02:25PM (#38750640)
    I gave all my passwords to my wife, and I have all hers. Neither of us demanded it; it just made sense.

    But the spousal relationship is unique, ethically and legally. I wouldn't normally do that with any other person except as an exception, and I would change passwords afterwards.
  • 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.

  • 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 AdamThor ( 995520 ) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @02:48PM (#38751082)

    Holy crap teens want to do something to establish intimacy! WHATEVER IT IS IT MUST STOP!!!1!

    For realz all of my account password resets point at my email account! Like banking! And billpay! And paypal! And my credit cards! These teens are setting themselves up to ruin their HUGE and HIGHLY INVOLVED financial structures that they don't have.

    Whatevs. TFA has no actual criticism other than your messy breakup might be messy. Whoa drama in teen romance LOOK OUT.

    If sharing passwords creates the intimacy and allows teens to forgo ACTUALLY DANGEROUS behavior then go for it. Beats the hell out of getting a tattoo. Just change your password when you break up. Before your SO changes it out from under you...

  • by FoolishOwl ( 1698506 ) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @02:49PM (#38751114) Journal

    Sharing email account passwords isn't nearly as big a deal as people here seem to think.

    And I find the hostility to the idea of expressing trust and intimacy rather unsettling.

    • by Hentes ( 2461350 )

      It takes seconds to create a new email account

      And years to get all your contacts to use it.

      • And we're talking about teenagers, who've probably had an email account for only a few years at most, and generally don't have lists of business contacts.

  • by Custard ( 45810 ) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @02:57PM (#38751254)

    Passwords are, it is said, like underwear. []

    If you are willing to share your underwear with a partner, why not your password?

    In my case, I was dating a woman who had been cheated on and had trust issues. I made sure she had access to my email and a tracking location on my phone. She says she never checked up on me, but I hope the gesture was appreciated.

  • by Greyfox ( 87712 ) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @03:35PM (#38751854) Homepage Journal
    Don't you know that's the best way to get a virus?! You must practice safe hex in your relationship!
  • by Zaphod The 42nd ( 1205578 ) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @04:33PM (#38752538)
    Uh... Is it just me, or did they not think of the obvious? While you're together, you share your password. As soon as you break up, log in and change your passwords to something new that you haven't told that person. Problem solved? Was there even a problem?

    I know, I know, TFA was more about the "dangers" of letting your significant other know all your secrets. I reject this too, I don't have any secrets. My friends and family can ask anything and I'll give an honest answer. 99% of the problems in this world come from people trying to defend their own ego and self-image, when you should really just accept that you are who you are and that is fine, people make mistakes, and we are each the result of our environments.
  • by GPLHost-Thomas ( 1330431 ) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @04:34PM (#38752552)
    I told my wife that my email password was kx8xay2m4knnh9tjgn4f5nzy, but surprisingly, she doesn't feel like it's a proof of trust!

Marvelous! The super-user's going to boot me! What a finely tuned response to the situation!