Why the Latest Teen Dating Trend Scares Me the Most

tweet heart keyboardAs a parent, I don't want to raise my kids as complete cynics when it comes to romance. Life will shatter those rose-colored glasses soon enough, and entirely without my help. But that's just the thing: I do want them to be somewhat prepared for the possibility of heartbreak. It's not that I want them to feel like they can't trust their boyfriend or girlfriend ... I just don't want them to be too trusting. 

Particularly when it comes to things like sharing highly personal information. The kind that could seriously derail a teen's life if it got into the wrong hands.

Which is why I'm extremely concerned about what's being called the latest teen dating trend ...

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The sharing of online account passwords. A virtual "I'll show you mine if you show me yours," this supposed show of love and devotion makes the potential for damage done by post-breakup acts of revenge far too great.

Think back for a moment to your own love life as a teenager. Remember that one guy you dated who spray-painted a very, very inappropriate word on your locker when you called it quits? Okay, now imagine he has the Internet at his disposal. Not to mention your personal passwords to sites like Facebook, YouTube, Tumblr, and Twitter (I know we didn't have any of that stuff when we were teens, okay? That's why I said "imagine."). Plus your email account.

You see the capacity for disaster?? The possibilities are endless. A nasty teen ex could mess with your reputation, your friendships, your college applications ... shudder.

Of course, at this point in the parental dissertation on Internet privacy, I can picture the average teen rolling her eyes and saying something like, "Whatever, Mom. You don't know him, okay? He would never do something like that to me."

Oh, but sweetheart ... he just might. And so, even though they'll probably dismiss our warnings at first, I still think we have to at least try to convince our kids to keep their personal information personal. For their own protection.

Do you think teens should exchange online account passwords? Do you think anyone should?

 

Image via Zach Dischner/Flickr

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