18 Sep
I Know You’re 18 Years Old, But I Still Need To Know Your Facebook Password

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

When Facebook started being a thing, my younger brother was 14. He’d already had an account for a while, but my mother put a keylogger on their computer and took his password without informing him. Obviously, he found out eventually. Even though he asked that she at least ask for his passwords like a normal person, she used the keylogger to take the passwords to all his accounts on the Internet. He’s been pretty upset about that, as I hope you understand.

He’s moving out now, for college, at the age of 18. He’s moving out-of-state to an apartment he’ll be sharing with a schoolmate. My mother had a hissy fit when he changed his passwords and ordered him to change them back so that she could keep logging in. My brother’s response was that he was an adult, and since he was working and attending school on a scholarship, she was no longer paying for his lifestyle, much less his Internet connection.

As his older brother (I’ve been out of the house for a decade now) I’ve been asked to take sides. I think there’s fault on both sides, but you can probably tell I agree with my brother more. How can I clear the air?

Signed,

Stuck in the Middle

___________________________

Dear Stuck in the Middle,

This seems like a big no-brainer to me because, hello, your brother is 18-years-old. Eighteen! And therefore he’s legally considered an adult. He can vote, he can go to war, he can serve on jury duty and he’ll now be tried as an adult the next time he knocks over a liquor store. Plus, he can finally get into NC-17 movies by himself. Yay for boobies and violence! But the most important thing is that he can do all of those things, and more, without the help of his dear, sweet mommy. (And he’s not 14 any longer.)

The idea of her being privy to his online passwords is about as ridiculous as her waiting for him to get out of his English 101 class so she can wipe his bottom. That’s not up for debate. However, if she won’t let this drop, I suggest you try to find out what’s compelling her to be so weird about it. What is she actually scared of? Has he been in trouble before? Is she worried about his judgement? Is there some other issue going on that needs to be addressed before she can finally relax and let him get on with his life? Find out.

Then once you get to the bottom of her issues, maybe she’ll realize how crazy it is for her to spy on her adult child. Her adult child who is not being financially supported by her. And maybe your brother can also sit down with her and reassure her that he’s not doing anything more dangerous on Facebook than playing Farmville or Carnieville or whatever those games that I always get annoying notices about are called.

You’re a good brother and a good son to care so much about harmony in your family.

Best of luck,

Wendi, TMH

 

7 Responses to “I Know You’re 18 Years Old, But I Still Need To Know Your Facebook Password”

09.18.12#1

Comment by cin.

Its not crazy to want to protect one’s 18 year old from sophisticated online predators. Or from developing a gambling addiction. Or becoming overly reliant on internet porn to the point of preferring 2-dimensional images to living breathing partners. It is unreasonable and disrespectful to spy without their knowledge or demand passwords of an independent adult. To think safety lay in eavesdropping rather than open communication. I’ve got passwords of my teen’s accounts but I ask them directly. Or rather insist in exchange for internet privileges. I rarely snoop. That they know mom can see is usually enough of a deterrent. Kids do need our ptotection but a financially independent adult has earned his right to privacy. And that mom needs to learn how to earn trust by talk rather than dictate and eavesdrop.

09.18.12#2

Comment by Bitsy.

Joke’s on mom. The youngsters are all on twitter now, anyway.

09.18.12#3

Comment by rojopaul.

I understand wanting to protect them as long as possible but he’s now 18. This is the time you sit back and pray that you did a good job and that they are safe in the big, bad world. If she’s not careful, he will totally cut her out of his life completely and that is not what she wants. Encourage mom to cut the strings and let him start his life. She can still be there for emotional support when he calls. And maybe Stuck can help mom realize her son will be okay!

Good advice, Wendi!

09.18.12#4

Comment by GeekChick.

1) Most teens (not ADULTS) who have this done will find a way to get around the security software (I did at 11, now a geeky 20 something) Because it’s honestly insulting to assume they’re up to no good. My worst offense? Watching the last two seasons of Salior Moon on grainy subtitled video. Soooo bad!

2) Also, most teens I know now will just have two social networking identities..one for the overbearing people, one for friends.

3)As others pointed out, he’s an adult! Does she REALLY want to see sexy messages sent between him and some other age-appropriate girl? Does she own that much eye bleach? Or read about the grossest thing him and his bros did?

09.19.12#5

Comment by N and Em's mom.

Stay out of it. It has nothing to do with you, unless your brother is in physical danger. Your brother is an adult with a controlling mom. It’s his problem, so let him fix it. It sounds like he is doing just fine on his own. Good for him! Remember, there is always the possibility that they will use you as peacemaker for as long as they live. It’s easier to nip it in the bud now. Good luck!

09.19.12#6

Comment by Angie Uncovered.

I agree with N and Em’s mom. This isn’t your problem, even if they ask you to take sides. Perhaps you could simply say, you’re both adults so I am sure you can figure it out without my help. Maybe that will help your mother recognize that you see your brother as an adult and perhaps she should as well. It might help your brother find the courage he needs to shut this behavior down.

09.29.12#7

Comment by sisterfunkhaus.

I don’t think there is fault on both sides. I think the mom is being overbearing and unfair. While I have no issue with her having a keylogger, as it is her computer, and she may want to know everything he does/did, I do think she should have enough respect to ask the son first, then get his passwords if he refuses to tell her. I always think you should give kids a chance to do the right thing first.

At this point though, he is legally an adult. There is no side to take because he can legally do what he want is is choosing to do so.

No one can force you to take a side if you do not want to. A simple, “I’m staying out of this” consistently repeated any time someone brings it up should suffice.

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