Use A Piggy Bank As A Password Escrow Account For Your Children

Parenting is a high-wire act, especially when it comes to kids and cybersecurity. You want to respect teens' growing need for privacy but need access to all information in case of emergency. One solution? Let an old-fashioned piggy bank maintain the trust.Photo by S_L / Shutterstock

In a tangent from 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 a teen to fork 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.

How Parents Normalized Teen Password Sharing [Social Media Collective]


    Surely if the teenager really wants privacy, they would just make up a fake password to write down, while using a better one on their accounts?

    Can someone tell me what kind of emergency requires giving my parents access to my email/facebook/bank accounts?

      If the child is lost or gone missing for days and days they can get the password, log on and update a status advising of whats happening and if anyone has any info etc. Sure it sounds like one those "it'll never happen to me" things, but better safe than sorry. I don't have any kids but this is something i'd definitely do.

      Your child does not come home, and is not contactable by normal means. You check their email/facebook to see if there is an indication on where they might be or who with. Facebook can also give you a better base to work with when calling friends or even getting in contact with their friends. Their bank account will allow you to see if any money was taken out the time they were missing.

      yes, its an extreme situation, but i have experienced first hands parents being stuck in a situation where they hardly know their childrens friends or their contact details, and having to work through a lengthy process of accessing school principals after hours to get this information.

      i dont have kids, but i know what i would be wanting to do if my kids went missing!

    Buy two piggy banks.

    Smash the first take the password, then put it in the second.

    Hide the evidence.

    get a keylogger.. problem solved..

      I like this one...any suggestions of which one?

        Cyborg RAT is good, as is Meterpreter. Both are kinda advanced and both will be detected by Antivirus. All keyloggers are undesirable though so Antivirus has a habit of blocking them.

          Sorry, Darkcomet RAT. Cyborg RAT is a gaming mouse.

            most antivirus software allows you to set program exceptions nowadays though in light of many companies using keyloggers on their work terminals to monitor their staff.

      And instead of talking to them about drugs, just search their room every day while they're at school. That trust shit never worked for anybody.

    Yeah... I don't know, would be really easy for the kid to just write the wrong password out, or, even if the kid's really honest, I can see them changing their password for whatever reason and forgetting to 'update' it in the piggy bank.

    I think I'll just hope my kids are stupid/lazy and leave their stuff logged on haha

    Or I'll tell them that they have no privacy till they're 18 and too bad so sad

      So you want to watch them wank themselves silly as they hit puberty? Perv.

    And if a parent opens the piggy bank when it wasn't really an emergency - they've destroyed the relationship for ever over trust issues.

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