Should I demand my kid's passwords to his or her social websites and apps?

Here's a little secret: Having your kid's passwords does nothing to make your kid safer online. Every kid knows it's a cinch to change passwords, create a new account you don't know about, or simply block you from ever seeing anything he or she posts. Instead, work together to make sure your kids develop their own sense of responsibility, and try not to have a parent-versus-child dynamic. Have regular check-ins, review their privacy settings, see who their online friends are, and take an interest in their online activities.

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Parent of a 5, 8, 12, 15, and 16 year old written by ctleng76

This greatly depends on the child. However, as a parent you absolutely have the authority to demand access to their account. It all hinges on trust. Before you even give them the green light to sign up for an account, you need to sit down with them and talk candidly and openly about the dangers of interacting with others online. Ground rules need to be set up ahead of time. If your child goes into this knowing that you are going to stay engaged, and you continue to stay engaged with them, they will be open to sharing their passwords. We told our kids that a condition to them having their first social networking account, was that we would have access to the account at all times. I see a lot of posts here about invading privacy and about letting them find their own way. For the adults making comments here (and I think many of the "adults" here are really just kids posting as adults), it is your responsiblity to know what your children are doing online. Teenagers don't have the developed mental capacity to reliably make responsible decisions. Think back to when you were a teenager and some of the stupid things you did when you were that young. That alone should be all the proof you need. They also don't have the life experiences to draw on that keeps them from wandering into dangerous territory. You have to ask yourself, is it more important that my child "like" me, or is it more important that they live to be an adult? We are NOT supposed to be our child's friend. We are supposed to be their parent.
Kid, 12 years old

Whether you should ask for your kid's passwords depends on their maturity. I would agree with under 10s giving their parents their passwords and checking their accounts frequently. For those 10-13, I'd suggest asking kids for their passwords, and then putting them on a piece of paper, and then locking it in a safe and ONLY taking it out when needed. If a kid refuses to hand their passwords, then question them WHY. If it's simply because they don't like handing out info like that, then tell them that you would NEVER tell anyone else the passwords. If they say "Because I want a bit of privacy" then ask them WHY. For those 13+, you should trust your kids to be open with you about internet and computer usage, and tell you what they're doing frequently. So yea, that's my opinions on whether you should ask for your kid's passwords. As stated at the beginning of the post, it depends on their maturity.
Teen, 13 years old written by strangerthingsl...

No. If you demand they won’t give it to you. You have to give them some space. If you give them space they are more likely to share it with you. If they aren’t giving it to you it may be just because you are barging into their life and they need some space too
Adult written by Connor E.

No! You should not. If I️ were in the kid’s situation I️ would be absolutely terrified, what if you were to find something out about them and start screaming at them, or be in their shoes, what if your parents started invading your privacy and just started going through your phone for literally no reason. They would feel violated. Nobody would want that.
Teen, 15 years old written by dabonem1738

no. teens need privacy too just like adults do. they will think u dont trust them and be stressed. now if u think something dangerous is happening then ask to see their phone or sneak on.
Teen, 13 years old written by a.f.2003

Yes, you should know your child's passwords so that you know what they've been looking at online and they people that they follow or that follow them. It'd be good to create your own social media account to follow them on, to know theyre recent activities. For example, my mom used to follow me on my Instagram account so that she would know what I was up to. And if she saw me looking at anything questionable, she would have a talk with me to see if I had any questions to ask her.
Teen, 13 years old written by dance_is_life04

You should have knowledge of ALL your child's information such as their phone passwords/email/social media it's best to play it safe rather than sorry
Teen, 13 years old written by Pianogemboy

Ask your kid first, do not, and I mean DO NOT force it out of them. My mom came in one day and demanded my phone password and began to tear through my phone. I wasn't doing anything necessarily bad, I just cuss here and there, but that wasn't what I was worried about. I had been watching some transgender related things on YouTube prior to that and was discussing my body dysphoria with my friend and they were helping me. I was panicking in fear that my mom would find out about my gender identity and whilst I have come out to her, my trust for her is still damaged. Social media, depending on your child, can be like a journal or a photo album. It can be extremely personal yet anonymous or very public. If you suspect negative activity happening, such as nudes, cyber bullying, etc, talk to your child, don't barge in and invade their privacy.
Teen, 13 years old written by ardageek

This same exact scenario happened with me recently and my parents demand they know all of my passwords, so it really limits me for things like this.
Adult written by Jsivaches

Don't you dare. How would you like it if your teens demanded your passwords huh? Just follow them or add them as a friend if you care so much so they don't change the password to keep you out of what is not yours. If it's such a big deal share some rules before they make the account.
Teen, 13 years old written by dance_is_life04

Parents should have their teens info because the differn First of all is that their the adults and they have wayyy more life experience and knowledge compared to someone who's only been on this earth for like 14 years
Teen, 14 years old written by Ross May

I beg to differ, my mom ACTS like she knows more but I'm telling ya, if you don't know that if you follow someone on a site they can see you, you don't deserve to consider yourself a "now person"
Teen, 14 years old written by GamerVs05

I can relate to this situation and so how my mom goes to my privacy while I'm at school and she checked all my devices and caught a video concerning inappropriate actions. I understand that my mom is my guardian/elder but this was the 4th time snooping on my device like swiper no swiping. When it comes to using her phone, she'd be overprotective, and say "Don't touch my phone." "Uh, why is that!?" I'll say in the most positive way unimaginable, not tying to get her to try to strike an argument nor trying to win it. My mom says,"I don't know what you be doing." Now guess, what's wrong with what happened? She's more concerned on her privacy, with no regard for mines. FOR EXAMPLE... I ask a burglar to come inside his/her house. But the robber strongly declines, more concerned on thinking I'll rob him/her. Do you get it? So my mom doesn't ask how I feel about that. All people on Earth, female and male have the CERTAIN talk in their lives. Im not gonna say it, because it's not my place to, but right back to what im saying. Im in a single parent home, only parent is my mom. Guess who gave me the talk? My mom! Eventually I got it from my step grandfather. To be completely honest, I often do feel stressed even for a teen like me who acts silly most of the time. Im saying all this because I can relate, and it feels better blogging about it for others benefit. If u need any advice or help, just talk to a trusted parent(s) or guardian, teacher, staff, neighbor or relative, etc.
Adult written by dgh

Yes for instagram. I can follow my daughters account however I could not read her direct messages (DMs) without logging in AS her. She left her IG account open on my phone and to my horror I found out she was cutting. So glad I did find out and now she is in counseling. Reading the DMs logged in AS her was the only way I would have known she was talking to cutters and to ask why she never took her sweatshirt off and ask to see her arms.
Teen, 14 years old written by Ross May

I have a question though, how is it parents are allowed to tell their teen not to pick up a knife. Like, it isn't fair for the ones who have parents who still think that no matter what age you are, if you are living under their roof you have to do EVERYTHING they say. So if you are 24, and your mom tells you you can't drink booze, even if you aren't in her house, I mean, that's a little frisky right there. And I cut sometimes and my mom flipps. I don't see what the big deal is I mean as long as you aren't cutting too deep then it is fine. We call ourselves "emo" and all emo don't cut it is just to relieve some of the pain.(I don't get how it works either it just does)
Teen, 14 years old written by Space-Narwhale

I think that you can ask for the passwords and say that your worried for their safety and say you only want to just pop in and make sure nothing bad is there. If they say no, just try to trust them. Or, just sneak into their rooms and hack their accounts. Lol. I give my parents my passwords to almost everything and I'm happy that they care about me and want me to be safe.
Teen, 14 years old written by kitty47

My parents make me but I absolutely hate it. I lost trust and respect from them when they demanded my passwords. I don't think having your kids passwords will necessarily make onlilne safer for them, and they may hate you for it.
Teen, 14 years old written by GamerVs05

I can also relate to this. My mom invaded my privacy, and lost most of my respect, even if I know that my mom is concerned about me. I respect her to ask about how I felt or to just trust me. Recently I was watching www.kissanime.ru a website I go to watch anime(Naruto series). Before I tell it, I had eye witnesses. So my routine is to get up and do normal stuff, then go to my grandparents house to be dropped off at school. So after that, I went to school and once I came back, while later, she says your aunt saw a website that's bla bla bla. I even told her I was watching Naruto Shippiden( if u want to watch it, watch the show Naruto first) and she, out of NOWHERE says, come to me if you want to download something. In my mind, blocking her out was like... You daughter of a b#tch, [email protected], and all the bad thing I could ever think of. Sorry for my language but it was true, today. And I do my homework, needed a calculator so I used my boring same Windows phone. BUT THEN REALISED THE FREAKING PHONE WAS RESETED. WHY!? All I could think of was why. And she was talking about inappropriate content and videos and pictures, but guess what?... Not once in my history nor YouTube did I and the whole world did not see any inappropriate stuff. To say one more thing, I will sometimes look at an inappropriate anime or video time to time, but will never be shown on my history. All I do is look, be like okay, and go on about my life. Due to my mom's privacy invading, I pause my watch and search history and cleared it. Im on Xbox 360(don't have it anymore) xbox one(not often due to it being at my grandma's) and Ps3 which I now have. You may befreind me people chat if u like :-)
Teen, 17 years old written by Thequestionasker

Yes and No. No, they want privacy just as much as you do. If it makes you feel better, you could also make a social media account for the same apps/websites and friend/follow them. This way, you still know what their posting while they get they privacy they want. Yes, but only if you think they are doing inappropriate things or are being bullied.