Teenagers do some pretty dumb things — it’s a proven fact. However, the new trend in bad decision-making may leave them exposed on the Internet.
A new study from the Pew Research Center shows that 19 percent of teens are sharing their email and social media passwords with their friends or significant others.
Many said they shared these passwords, even though they have been warned not to, as a sign of complete trust in their friends.
A 2001 study from Pew showed similar results, with 22 percent of teens sharing their login information.
“You know you can trust someone if you can give them your password, but if you ever have a problem with that person, then they have all that info at their fingertips,” one 17-year-old girl told Pew researchers. “I am glad that I did (share my password). It makes me feel closer to people by letting them know I trust them with something as personal as my password.”
While teens may trust the people with whom they are sharing passwords at the time, it can quickly backfire at the first sign of drama.
One girl explained that after she and her friends got in a fight, they logged in to her email and broke up with her boyfriend.
Sharing passwords can also be a sign of intimacy between a young couple. By being able to log on to your boyfriend’s or girlfriend’s Facebook account, you can see they aren’t cheating on you, Matt Richtel reported for The New York Times.
Sharing passwords for this purpose typically promotes unhealthy, obsessive relationships that show the couple actually lack trust in each other.
It’s also incredibly difficult to stop because it’s a forbidden practice, author Rosalind Wiseman explained. Just as with sex, parents try to make their children not share passwords, but the relationship overrides that warning.
“The response is the same: If we’re in a relationship, you have to give me anything,” Wiseman said.
Adults are also sharing passwords with their friends and partners, but the consequences are typically less disastrous, Nicolas DiDomizio reported for Mic.
“The difference, of course, is that most of us share passwords out of convenience, or maybe even frugality,” DiDomizio reported. “But chances are the people with whom we share our passwords are the people we trust the most. Of course, we all know that these types of intimate connections take a lot of time to grow, and trading passwords with someone just so they can put a weird selfie on your Insta probably isn’t a good idea.”