Passwords and Children

A recent post on Boing Boing regarding teenagers sharing passwords with friends and significant other has raised some questions with me – mostly based around my daughter and the world she will grow up in.

Now I regard myself as someone who at least is aware of most of the technology and the advances that it offers to our lives – I advocate for the use of new tech at work and I am always looking at ways to improve what we do. I love the fact that for Christmas using a Smart Phone, Skype and WiFi Daughter was able to show Nanny all her new presents and talk to Nanny’s face… this is now simple tech – available to everyone with a broadband connection and a few cheap devices.

But what about the future? What will my daughter grow up with and what will count as ‘normal’ or ‘expected’ in her life. Maybe it is my recent read of 1984 that has raised this, but what will be safe for her? I read alot about internet security and identity safety – do the current generation of young adult really understand that what is on Social Media sites is owned by the site? So they realise that Big Brother (the corporate world) is watching everything they do and say. Targeted Marketing is nothing new but so much more powerful with the use of Social Media and information data warehouses that are built from them.

Even this humble blog is not safe from it. The Google ads that are on this site are targeted to the posts that I write… If I write about my guitar lessons you see self help guitar ads, or guitar sales. This is what Google does best by the way and not necessarily a bad thing – but when does it become too much and what do we need to do about saving the future so that our children grow up safe…

I boil it down to trust. Like the article quoted in the Boing Boing post parents need to develop ways to create trust with their children… and so should these super corps with their customers and clients… Remember there are always alternatives and sometimes we just have to walk away…

There are different ways that parents address the password issue, but they almost always build on the narrative of trust. – The NYTimes

Another articled linked from Boing Boing details how parents can normalise password sharing. So will we require daughter to share her passwords with us? Not sure… will we want to be ‘friends’ or part of her social media networks? At this stage Yes! I am part of my nephews and nieces networks and even though I don’t interfere I can see what they are doing and sometimes pass on private messages when I think it is appropriate. But will I need to access their private accounts? I don’t think so – that is a trust issue and while privately they could be sending messages or doing things – that should remain their business…

My wife and I have separate bank accounts and a joint account for the normal life expenses – we have separate passwords and access to these. I don’t have or want her passwords for her Social Media pages and sites and she likewise – the trust we have in each other is formed by that. I don’t feel I need to have that part of her. That is her private business – If I need to post something about us or her I have my own accounts to do that.

We will need to be aware of these challenges as Daughter grows up… and I hope we do the right thing by her – but I am prepared to fail at some of it and hit the mark with others… That my friends is LIFE.

The full New York Times article

3 thoughts on “Passwords and Children

  1. OK mate – I have a serious query for you.

    You make the link between what you post and the targetted Google adds.

    After reading this I glance across to see what adds were posted.

    Of the four, one is particular stood out – an introduction site for meeting Asian (ahem) 'ladies' in Sydney.

    So what I want to know is what else have you been posting?

    Oh – and advocate is the correct spelling – better get onto that before you grammer/spelling Nazi of a wife finds out 😉


  2. David
    Thanks for that – missed that one with the spell check…

    As for the ad… Well maybe Google ain't as good as I thought or else it might be targeting what the viewer is most interested in… 🙂


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