June 18, 2024

Malwarebytes Survey Finds 43 Percent of People Feel Pressure to Share Digital Account Access in Relationships

New Data Exposes the Challenges and Risks of Sharing Digital Access in Relationships, Especially in Younger Generations

SANTA CLARA, Calif. – June 18, 2024 – A new research report from Malwarebytes titled “What’s Mine is Yours: How couples share an all-access pass to their digital lives” reveals that 85% of people in a committed relationship grant their partner access to their personal accounts – for Gen Z, it’s 95%. Sharing logins, passwords and location in romantic partnerships is ubiquitous; but possibly not by choice. Many people report feeling pressured by their partner to share digital access and a sizable group now regrets it. Based on a survey of 500 adults in committed relationships across the United States, the study explores how deeply intertwined our digital and romantic lives have become, and the potential risks for couples.

“Our digital lives are an extension of ourselves and sharing that space with a partner means that people need to make conscious and intentional choices about how to do so,” said Oren Arar, VP of Consumer Privacy, Malwarebytes. “Our study reveals that while sharing digital access is seen as a sign of trust, it also opens doors to potential harm. At Malwarebytes, we’re committed to helping individuals protect their privacy and security, including ensuring that digital intimacy doesn’t come at the cost of personal safety.” 

Granting Access: Universal Sharing is the New Norm

In today’s digital age, sharing personal account access with a partner has become the standard. The survey revealed that 100% of people are digitally connected to their partners via a joint account, shared access to personal accounts, or both. In fact, partners share their personal login information for 12 different types of accounts on average. This trend reflects a growing expectation of sharing digital accounts, and two in three (63%) people believe sharing digital access is key to building trust in a relationship. However, this sharing is not always voluntary, especially for younger generations. Over half of Gen Z (55%) and Millennials (53%) experienced pressure from their partners to share digital access, compared to just 32% of older generations.

The Dark Side: Regret 

The consequences of this pressure can be severe: 30% of males regret sharing account access compared to 13% of females. On top of that, one-third (29%) of the respondents reported harmful effects such as an ex-partner stalking or tracking them using shared digital access. This issue is especially pronounced among younger generations, with 45% of Gen Z and 41% of Millennials reporting digitally fueled abuse. 

Despite the normal practice of sharing account access, 50% of people are unaware of how easily they can be located via their apps. Females are especially vulnerable to the potential harmful effects of sharing apps and services with 43% unaware of the fact that location-based apps may reveal their exact whereabouts. This statistic underscores the importance of awareness and education so people are aware of what they’re sharing and don’t feel a false sense of security.

“Privacy is deeply connected to safety, especially for survivors of abuse,” said Erica Olsen, National Network to End Domestic Abuse. “This report highlights the critical need to examine norms around privacy as they exist within intimate relationships, as well as the need for tools that allow us to easily disentangle ourselves from shared accounts. While sharing account access or information can be useful, consent should remain at the core of these decisions.” ​

Seeking Guidance: Navigating Digital Cohabitation

Nearly 75% of people acknowledge there’s much to learn about navigating a shared digital footprint. As awareness of these risks grows, many individuals look for guidance on how to navigate the complexities of sharing their digital lives with their partners. 70% of respondents recognize the need for support to manage shared digital cohabitation, particularly in navigating breakups or changes in relationship status. This need for guidance is especially important for Gen Z, with 79% admitting they’d like to learn more about how to handle the digital side of relationships—including how to stop sharing location with their partner.

“With nearly half of people feeling pressured to share their digital lives and a significant number experiencing harmful repercussions, it’s evident that we need better guidance to navigate this digital entanglement safely,” said Jamie Fong, Consumer Privacy Advocate, Malwarebytes. “Allowing a partner to access your digital accounts is an extension of trust and responsibility. Before sharing, consider what you are comfortable with and talk openly with your partner about your expectations for privacy. This conversation will help ensure you’re both on the same page.” 

Malwarebytes is committed to protecting vulnerable populations and advocating for privacy through education and both free and paid products and services. The report is accompanied by recommendations for individuals to safeguard their digital lives, including steps to quickly remove shared information in the event of a breakup.

Read or download the full report: Malwarebytes.com/modernlove.


Malwarebytes conducted this research using an online survey prepared by an independent research contractor and distributed via Forsta among n=500 survey respondents ages 18+ in the United States. The sample was equally split for gender with a spread of ages, geographical regions, and race groups. Data was collected from April 4 to April 9, 2024. 

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