University sophomore Morgan Petrovich@@http://directory.uoregon.edu/telecom/directory.jsp?p=findpeople%2Ffind_results&m=student&d=person&b=name&s=Morgan+Petrovich@@ has dated her boyfriend for five years. Not until this year had he disclosed a long-held secret: his passwords.

“I was actually shocked — really shocked — he decided to give me his password,” Petrovich said.

Although the couple now only share email, Facebook and Netflix passwords — passwords that Petrovich considers to be less risky to give out — she likes how password sharing has made their relationship feel more open.

“It’s a sign of trust,” she said.

Petrovich is not alone in the password-sharing trend. The New York Times reported last week that sharing passwords has become the digital era’s promise ring. A 2011 study from the Pew Internet and American Life Project found 30 percent of teens shared a password @@http://pewinternet.org/Media-Mentions/2012/Teenagers-sharing-passwords.aspx@@with a friend or significant other. And the trend doesn’t seem to stop after high school.

“She knows all my passwords,” University freshman Koa Kaai@@http://directory.uoregon.edu/telecom/directory.jsp?p=findpeople%2Ffind_results&m=student&d=person&b=name&s=Koa+Kaai@@ said about his girlfriend. “You have to really trust them if you’re going to give them your password.”

Kaai has dated his girlfriend for two years. He said they feel sharing their Facebook passwords made their relationship more serious.

Stephanie Steele, a therapist with Vista Counseling and Consultation in Eugene@@http://therapists.psychologytoday.com/rms/name/Stephanie_Steele_LMFT_Eugene_Oregon_106151@@, has worked with adult couples of all ages who share everything, including bank account passwords. But Steele urges couples to consider legal and social consequences before giving out passwords.

“I think swapping passwords is romanticized and not thought about critically in some cases,” Steele said. “If the relationship ends, one individual may go into their email or social media accounts and delete cherished pictures, friendships and humiliate an individual. If this is concerning a bank account, the legal consequences are endless.”

University senior Alex Cohen can relate.@@http://directory.uoregon.edu/telecom/directory.jsp?p=findpeople%2Ffind_results&m=student&d=person&b=name&s=Alexander+T+Cohen+@@

“I gave it to a girlfriend once and then changed it,” Cohen said about his Facebook password. He wasn’t comfortable with his girlfriend accessing all his messages, calling password sharing unhealthy for a relationship.

“There needs to be some privacy in a relationship,” Cohen said. “If a girlfriend’s mad, there’s no saying what she’ll do on Facebook.”@@Oh, those crazy [email protected]@


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