The digital era has given rise to a more intimate custom. It has become fashionable for young people to express their affection for each other by sharing their passwords to e-mail, Facebook and other accounts. Boyfriends and girlfriends sometimes even create identical passwords, and let each other read their private e-mails and texts.
Students say there are reasons, beyond a show of trust, to swap online keys. For instance, several college students said they regularly shared Facebook passwords -- not to snoop on or monitor each other, but to force themselves to study for finals. A student would give her password to a friend to change it -- and not disclose the new password -- thereby temporarily locking out the Facebook account holder and taking away a big distraction to studying.
Emily Cole, 16, a high school junior in Glastonbury, Conn., felt the sting of password betrayal in seventh grade, when she gave her e-mail password to her first boyfriend.
Then she started to develop feelings for another student, she said, and sent an e-mail to her. Her boyfriend read the e-mail and started spreading it around the school, calling Ms. Cole a "pervert."
Furthermore, most parents reasonably believe that young children should be supervised online. As tweens turn into teens, the narrative shifts. Some parents continue to require passwords be forked over, using explanations like "because I'm your mother." But many parents use the language of "trust" to explain why teens should share their passwords with them.
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Un tema controvertido. Para algunos, las contraseñas de cosas como el correo pueden ser muy importantes (porque todo lo demás se sigue de ahí) y, si bien puedes confiar en otra persona como para compartirla, quizás no puedas asegurar que va a tratarla con la misma seguridad que la tratas tú (por ejemplo no iniciar sesión en equipos que puedan estar comprometidos, o wifis abiertas).