While security tools will, no doubt, change in the weeks, months and years ahead, passwords will likely remain a part of healthy security hygiene. Password management is a personal grooming habit that you need to be sure to teach your kids. If they don’t learn basic password management skills from you, for the devices, apps, sites and games they use, they will make serious mistakes from a security perspective. The digital security skills that kids learn today are extremely important and are lessons that will last a lifetime.
When you talk to your kids about password management, start the Tech Talk with these questions:
- What accounts do you have that need a password?
- Why do we need passwords?
- Are some passwords better than others?
- What happens when you forget your password?
- Is the best password a birthday or phone number?
- What qualities make the best password and why?
Be sure that your kids understand that passwords should be something personal to them and easy to remember, but difficult for someone else to figure out. Encourage them to use a special word or phrase, name of a favorite character, movie, food or song. Once they decide on the base part of their password, show them how they can change up the some of the letters or numbers to make stronger. Here’s an example, savvycyberkids is the base and you can modify it to this: 3aV7ycyb3rkids!
Once you come up with password names, it’s time to talk about sharing passwords:
- Should passwords be shared?
- Is it okay you share your password with your best friend?
- Is there anyone you can or should share your password with?
Here are the Savvy Cyber Kids Rules About Sharing Passwords:
ALWAYS SHARE PASSWORDS (with some people)
- Share passwords with parents. Digital parents are involved in their kids online lives which means they must have access to each and every account.
SOMETIMES SHARE PASSWORDS
- Share passwords with others if they are maintaining a Snapchat streak or some other account for you, short-term. But, always, change your password once you resume management of your account.
- Share passwords with others if you are as a group maintaining an account (this may happen because of a school project or a shared interest). But, always, have a trusted adult monitor the account to be sure that everyone who is submitting content is following appropriate social media manners.
NEVER SHARE PASSWORDS
- Stop sharing passwords with your best friend, your girlfriend or your boyfriend. These relationships go through their ups and downs. You may be in a good place one day, and a very fractured place a few days later. Someone who is angry with you should not have access to your accounts.
- Stop sharing passwords to get gaming offers that sound too good to be true. The offer of in-game benefits if you share a password is a story that will never, ever end well. Don’t believe it. If you do, you will likely lose points and features you have accumulated in the game – if not access to your account forever!
No doubt, you have many, many passwords that keep your own accounts safe. So many, I bet, that keeping track of all of your passwords is a chore, yes? Don’t let it get overwhelming. Try a password manager. Maybe even encourage your kids to get one. This way, you’ll only have one password to remember, per child of course!
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