Do your kids share passwords? It could put them at risk

Studies show close to one-third of all kids between 14 and 18 years old are giving away something very important, access to their social media accounts and all the tech gadgets they fool around with. Experts said it's a dangerous idea that puts your child at risk.

Forget passing out your locker combination, teenagers these days are sharing a whole lot more.

Security expert Joe Mason with Identity Guard said, "Children today are far more casual than when we were growing up."

And they're sharing something personal, paying a price. Isabella Adcock knows what can happen from over sharing, especially when it comes to passwords. She gave a stranger her password to an online gaming site and lost parts of the game she paid for.

"I said part of it and she went on and guessed the other parts and she got it right.  Everything got taken," said Adcock.

It was a small loss for Adcock , but Mason said the price for password sharing can be steep.

"Anything that gives you some sense of security and privacy is now exposed," said Adcock.

But that doesn't stop kids from giving out the codes that will give anyone access to their cellphones, iPads, Facebook accounts, and even their email. To them, it's a casual gesture, a sign of trust between friends.

But Mason reminds, "Not all relationships end up happily ever after and once you start sharing passwords with friends, they can tap into basically anything you have that is private to you."

That can leave teens open to cyber bullying. Adcock 's mom, Tina Adcock, knows how easily it can happen, especially with her son in high school.

"If some other child got Hunter's password, they could write things about him, try to embarrass him at school," said Tina Adcock.

Hunter, 15, is tech savvy and knows not to share with anyone except his parents, who don't give him much choice anymore.

"That way I know they're not getting in trouble or doing things they shouldn't," said Tina Adcock.

But Mason said passing along passwords within the family is often where casual sharing among the masses gets its start.

"It almost becomes natural, this notion of sharing a password," he said.

So when you ask your kids to give you their secret codes so you can keep an eye, make sure they keep their lips sealed to everyone else. Isabella Adcock does now when her friends ask to access her computer or her phone.

"If it does happen, then I'll do my password and say, ‘Here you can go play with it,'" she said.

Mason said if your child becomes the victim of cyber-bullying through password sharing, you may have to shut down the accounts or change numbers if it gets extreme. He said everyone in your family should be changing passwords often. And when it comes to teens, make sure they aren't choosing an access code that's overly simple and easy to guess.

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