Imagine if your parents, without even asking for it, automatically received an email detailing every website you'd visited, what you searched for, and what apps you used on a weekly basis -- even if you cleared your history or browsed anonymously.
It seems this is a real-life feature that's automatically enabled for Windows 10 users who register with "family" accounts, which prompted one dad to call out the "creepy-ass email" he wasn't expecting to receive from Microsoft, saying, "I don't want this. I have no desire to spy on my boy," and warning teens, "If you have Windows 10 now, your parents might be getting the same kind of report I did. Don't assume your own computer has your back."
According to a report by PinkNews, the feature can be turned off, but a Windows 10 family account comes with it enabled by default, meaning parents have to make a conscious decision not to spy on their kids. This sucks for everyone for obvious reasons, but it has the potential to suck especially bad for teens who are questioning their sexual orientation, and haven't yet discussed it with their parents -- especially if their parents aren't supportive.
The world can be a super scary place for teens who are questioning their sexual orientation, and websites dedicated to helping questioning and LGBT teens find support, community, and advice (like Everyone is Gay and It Gets Better) provide critical resources to those who might not be able to find those things in their daily, non-internet lives. If teens are unwittingly outed to their parents before they're ready, the outcome could be disastrous.
According to the Williams Institute, 40 percent of homeless youth identify as LGBT, and the number one factor that led to their homelessness was being rejected by their families and thrown out of their homes due to their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Even worse -- according to the National Coalition for the Homeless, homeless LGBT youth are at greater risk of violence, abuse, and exploitation than their heterosexual peers, and they often "have great difficulty finding shelters that accept and respect them."
According to a statement from a Microsoft spokesperson, “Family Settings is an option within Windows for families to set up individual accounts for each member of their family. Family Settings are not turned on by default."
"Once Family Settings are created," the statement continued, "each account is able to personalize their desktop, create their Web favorites, and personalize their PC experience. If parents choose to use the Family Settings, they can receive activity reports and limit screen time for each child account. Each child account is notified regularly if reports are being sent on their behalf. The Family Settings can be turned off once family accounts are created, or further customized. Ultimately, it’s the families choice what information is shared between children and their parents.”
TL;DR - If you have Windows 10, your parents might now be getting emails about your browser history so BE CAREFUL.