Is your email mine? The chaos of sharing your Netflix account or smart scale at home has an easy solution
You want to sign up for (for example) Netflix, and You have to choose an email address to do this, but which one?. You are going to share the account with your partner or family, and here comes the potential problem: when you create the account you choose your email address.
That decision has more crumbs than it seems, and in this world in which we are creating more and more accounts on more devices, what to do with our email address (or that of others with whom we share that device) may end up creating a little chaos.
Your email or mine?
A Reddit user raised the hare of a situation much more common than it seemed. Many people share some type of service on the internet or jointly use a device that is connected to the internet.
That means that an email associated with the user is needed (which is sometimes also your username), and that allows you to manage access to the service and also to recover the password in case we want to modify it or do not remember it.
The problems that appear when using a personal email account as the identifier of the shared account on a service or device are clear:
- Who rules? If I have control of the account, the rest of the group members with whom I share that account will end up coming to me if they have access problems. The “administrator” ends up having more work than if everyone had access to the email account.
- Notices. Closely related to the above, if for example we are registered in our electricity distribution company with our personal email but we live as a couple or family, the notices (bills, changes in terms of service, etc.) arrive at that email, something that can be uncomfortable for the couple if they also want to be aware of these news.
- A profile for everyone. There are products such as smart scales that allow you to create several profiles, but that end up being a bit uncomfortable to use when depending on that personal account when in reality that information should be sent to each user or, at most, to a general account.
- recommendations. Another common problem when using streaming services is that the recommendations that are generated depend on our use, but if we use a shared account we end up having recommended content not for us, but for our children. It happens to me with mine, who sometimes use my Netflix profile (and not the Kids section) and that makes me suggest series for teenagers that the truth is not very interesting for me :).
An interesting solution: create a common email account
The Reddit user who started the debate did so by launching a recommendation: if you are going to start using smart devices or services with your partner (or family, or friends), the ideal is that create a new and shared email account among all.
What does that mean? That the device or the service will not be associated with your personal account or that of your partner or a friend, but rather will be associated with that joint email account of which also everyone should have the password.
With that you solve several problems: you separate your personal account from that of that joint account, which also will be exclusively dedicated to devices and services that you want to share with other people.
Obviously if you end up sharing with different groups you will have to create other joint accounts with them, or else you would end up having the original problem, but as we say at the end this is a good way to compartmentalize and to avoid more problems than there may already be in another case.
In fact, it would hardly ever even be necessary to access that shared email account: we could configure filters so that each message received there is forwarded to the email addresses of each of the group members, so that everyone can have notices and information about the device and the shared services in their own e-mail addresses.
It is true that password managers are another alternative to that problem: if all the members of the group with the shared account use this type of tool, it is not so difficult to have different accounts with different passwords depending on the service or device, but the truth is that you centralize everything and create those new unique accounts and Shared still seem like a better option in the long run.
Image | Solen Feyissa | Brett Jordan