Give Me Your Password!

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Some of you may or may not know that on January 1st a law went into effect in the state of Illinois requiring students to hand over their passwords to their social media pages if asked. It also gave cyberbullying the same amount of weight as physical bullying. According to a study done in the fall of 2014, 25 percent of teenagers report that they have experienced repeated bullying via their cell phone or on the internet. This is a small number, but if you think about it realistically, that is a lot of kids. A lot of kids have been bullied via social media and it is not okay. But do I think that that state of Illinois should require the student to hand over their passwords? No way.

Coming from a high school student, there are kids in my school that won’t even give someone their pencil, let alone the password to their coveted social media pages. Asking a teenager to give an adult, most likely a principal, access to their personal pages is preposterous. Not only is that violating a right of privacy, it is violating the boundaries of what a school can do.

Yes, it is now legal for a school to ask, but is it right? I have personally been the victim of cyberbullying. It is humiliating, it is hurtful, and it is not okay. I would almost say that it is worse than some real life bullying that goes on. People hide behind a computer and say things they would never say in person and it should be stopped. When surveyed, percent of teens said that it is easier to bully someone online.

Coming from a Cyberbully and harassment victim, I have had my name slandered on Facebook, been called names, and I’ve had horrible things said about me. But, even then, It has not affected my education. I would never bring that to the school. It is not my principal’s problem to worry about things that aren’t happening on school property. If something is happening that that the teenager is unable to handle, they should talk to a parent, not a principal.

Now the next thing that I’m about to say doesn’t apply to all schools, but it applies to mine. We aren’t allowed to have our cell phones in school. We aren’t allowed access to any social media sites. Period. The minute you walk in the door, your phone gets turned off and placed into your locker. Since we aren’t even allowed to have our phones in school, all cyberbullying cases are done outside of school, off school property. I just don’t see how a place that doesn’t allow social media and cell phone usage can justifiably ask for the password to my Facebook, Twitter, etc.

Cyberbullying is a problem. It will always be a problem. We need to fight back, we need to try to help those that can’t help themselves, but this law – in my opinion – is not going to do that. We, as a people, need to realize that sometimes we need to fight our own battles, and if we can’t then find someone to help. Just not the school. This issue is not something that pertains to my education and it’s not something that the school system can fix.

What do you think? Do you think that the school system should be able to demand that a student hand over their password?

By: Harley Crawshaw | @harley_crawshaw

About Tom Harness

Tom Harness is the owner of Harness Digital Marketing, a digital marketing firm that works with businesses and organizations on Social Media, SEO, and Email Marketing. He is an entrepreneur and business owner with 20 years of combined experience in Education, IT, and Business. Tom is a U.S. Army Veteran and a Southern Illinois University alum. He also enjoys craft beers, his beloved Chicago Cubs, and his family.


  1. Having taught for 9 years in public education, I can tell you that having access to students accounts will “not” solve or help the problem, but create more issues. Much to what Ms. Crawshaw eluded to, the only real solution is to get students involved to help each other out.

    The missing component here is the parent (not the Friend/Parent), but the actual get your hands dirty and make your child upset parent. It is a sad day when we have to have legislation from our state to help detour school related issues dealing with the Internet.

    Think of the Internet and Social Media much like a gun. It can be used effectively when properly trained and deadly when in the wrong hands. Educators and administrators should be incredibly nervous about having the freedom to request access to students online accounts. Why? Because that is the parents job. Don’t give me, I don’t know technology or anything about it routine. I don’t know half the stuff I should to be a parent, but I try and I know what areas I have to be involved.

    The only part of Ms. Crawshaw’s blog that I do not agree with is that teens have privacy. That is an individual right that only parents should have the right to determine what is private and not private for their kids. They earn the right because of their actions and choices.

    I have always had a progressive view of technology and education. I would say that I was ahead of my time in many areas. Children shouldn’t have tools taken away from them because we as educators can’t control it or understand how to implement it. We should understand that throughout history changes are important for the younger generation to grow and be better than us.

  2. People want more government, well this is what happens.

  3. I teach people, including kids, how to deal with Adversity in life by using Cognitive Processing. This offers them a way to develop an Immunity to cyber bullies and physical bullies. Bullies, like dogs, can smell strength. Get stronger than a weakling bully and they will flee.

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