Science & Tech
Password sharing among teens takes the place of the 'promise ring'
It's one thing to share your password with your wife or husband, but sharing your password when you are a teenager who barely (OK, doesn't) knows what love --- and possibly trust --- is, is a completely different matter.
That's not to say that sharing your password with a S.O. of any type can't turn out badly. One look at the divorce rate should tell you that if you do share your password, if things go wrong, you had better change it quickly.
But teenagers are hardly experienced enough to make good decisions, despite the fact that if you ask any of them, they will feel they are more wise than their parents. It doesn't help that every tween / teen show on television (think Disney channel) shows parents as complete idiots.
Nope, no promise rings. Instead, give me your password.
Tiffany Carandang, a high school senior in San Francisco, said she and her boyfriend decided several months ago to share their email and Facebook passwords.
"It’s a sign of trust. I have nothing to hide from him, and he has nothing to hide from me. I know he’d never do anything to hurt my reputation."
Right, and Tiffany needs to watch an episode of "Stalked: Someone's Watching" on the ID cable channel. Or just look around the Internet a little. Sorry, Tiffany, that's not necessarily the case. It might be for now, but probably not forever. This is a high school romance after all, and what is the percentage of those that end up happily ever after?
In a November report, the Pew Internet and American Life Project found that roughtly one-third of teenagers who were Internet users had shared a password with a peer. The study found that girls were nearly twice as likely as boys to share a password. The survey was conducted via telephone interviews with a "nationally representative" sample of 799 teens aged 12 to 17 years old.
Why the desire to share passwords? It could be a form of teen rebellion. After all, their parents would say "don't do it."
Rosalind Wiseman is the author of "Queen Bees and Wannabes," which is the book that inspired the movie "Mean Girls" and which Amazon.com says "offers concrete strategies to help you [parents] empower your daughter to be socially competent and treat herself with dignity. She said the sharing of --- and pressure to share --- passwords was somewhat similar to that for sex.
“The response is the same: if we’re in a relationship, you have to give me anything."
Perhaps the only cure would be if everything required biometrics. With typed in passwords, and the ya teens think, it's probably not going to be possible to eliminate password sharing.
Patti Cole, a child psychologist whose own daughter had a bad experience with sharing passwords, said, "What worries me is we haven’t done a very good job at stopping kids from having sex. So I’m not real confident about how much we can change this behavior [of password sharing].”