Should I know my teen's passwords?
Real Mom Problem
“One of the computer conditions I set for my 13-year-old daughter is that I have to know her password. Am I wrong for snooping?”
- 1. Some moms believe knowing passwords is essential to keep their kids safe online
- 2. Other moms consider knowing their teens' passwords an invasion of privacy
- 3. Whether or not you know their passwords, you might want to be "friends" with your teen on social sites like Facebook and Myspace
Real Mom Solutions
Are you eager to view your teen's online activities? See these moms' reasons for insisting on their teens sharing passwords, or allowing them to keep passwords private.
Some Moms Insist on Knowing Passwords
Stick with your rules. My son tried to hide stuff on Facebook that was really bad a while back. I always check his Facebook now; it is part of our agreement. He knows I check and we are very open about it. I never say anything to him unless something I see raises a red flag.
My kids wouldn't have a Facebook account, or any other social networking account, if I didn't have their passwords -- plain and simple!
Giving us her password was required of my daughter when she made Facebook and Myspace accounts years ago. We are also on her friends list for both sites. She can change her password all she wants to but she knows she will have to tell us what the new one is.
I have the passwords my teens use for their Facebook accounts - it was a condition of them being allowed to use Facebook so I could go on and monitor them at any time. To be fair, they also have MY password - if I do anything unreasonable to their page, they can retaliate on mine. So far (and it's been a couple of years now) I have respected their space online and they have respected mine.
I insist on having passwords to any and all pages my teens visit. It's for their safety and my peace of mind. If I ever go on and find they've changed their password without giving me the new one, they get in big trouble.
Others Allow Teens Their Privacy
Knowing my teen's password is an invasion of privacy. I trust her 100% with her emails and everything else. That to me is just wrong. Back off a little and give trust and respect.
I don't invade my 17-year-old daughter's privacy. We don't have that kind of relationship. I know everything thing she's doing because she tells me.
I knew their passwords when they were preteens, and all through middle school, and the first year of high school. After that I let them change their passwords because I trust them enough for that now, but I still have my own account on Myspace and Facebook, and am "friends" with them.
I know the internet is dangerous and it's important to keep an open line of communication, but I think demanding to be in their business is crossing over a line. Teens are probably more likely to resent their parents for that sort of thing, rather than if you try to build a trusting relationship where your teen would just tell you what's going on anyway. I believe respecting my kid's privacy while maintaining a level of trust is important, so I think I would only resort to spying if they messed up really badly and required that sort of attention.
Unless my kids ever gave me a reason not to trust them, I would allow them to have their privacy.