Parenting is a high-wire act, especially when it comes to your kids and internet security. Of course you want to respect teens’ ever growing need for privacy, but as a parent you need access to all information in case of an emergency. One simple solution? Let an old-fashioned piggy bank maintain the trust.

In an article on password sharing, Microsoft researcher Danah Boyd suggests this strategy:  Parents ask children to put passwords into a piggy bank that must be broken for the paper with the password to be retrieved. Such parents often explain that they don’t want to access their teens’ accounts, but they want to have the ability to do so “in case of emergency.” A piggy bank allows a social contract to take a physical form.

This seems a much better strategy than demanding your teenage kids hand over his or her passwords. If you’ve faced this dilemma before or have your own thoughts on parenting and kids’ passwords, share them with us in the comments.

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