How Private Are Your Kids Passwords?

Facebook passwordsHow many times have kids been told not to give their Facebook or email passwords out to anyone? Apparently not enough. A Canadian study done by MediaSmarts has found three out of five Canadian youths will give their passwords away to family and close friends.

Children who participated in the study were in Grades 4 to 11, aged nine to 17. Out of the 5,436 kids surveyed, only 41 percent said they would not share their social media passwords, with 46 percent of boys saying they’d keep the information secret. Only 35 percent of girls say they’d do the same.

It may be comforting for parents to hear they are most likely to be the person their child trusts with password information. However, the next person in line is almost always the best friend. Thirty-six percent of boys and 45 percent of girls are willing to share login information with their parents, compared to 21 percent of boys and 31 percent of girls who say they’d share with their best friends.

What’s most troublesome are the statistics with older youth, ages 12 to 17, who are willing to share their passwords with their boyfriends or girlfriends. Seventeen percent of boys and 15 percent of girls say they would give their passwords to their significant other.

“Password sharing is used as a marker of trust … It’s something you do as a token of how close you are,” Matthew Johnson, director of education at MediaSmarts, was quoted as saying.

Parents should always have access to their children’s passwords, as the ability to monitor online accounts and conversation is important. However, they shouldn’t give out that information to anyone else, including friends or a person they are dating. It’s important to educate children to ensure their safety online.