A Quick Guide to Password Safety for Kids

5 min read by Bogdi

published 2 ani în urmă, updated 2 ani în urmă

We live in a digital world, and online safety is critical for kids to learn beginning at a young age. They are always on phones and tablets, and for many, much of their school is online too. All of these resources are password protected to safeguard personal information, but often, these passwords are preset for the kids who do not choose their own passwords.

If these passwords never get changed, kids never learn proper password safety. This makes them an easy target for hackers. It is parents’ responsibility to teach our kids internet safety—not just blocking them from inappropriate content, but teaching them why. Kids learn from watching adults, so they need computer security role models. Read on to learn all about how to quickly and easily teach your kids password safety.

Create Fun and Unique Passwords

Your kids’ passwords should be easy for them to remember but hard for strangers to guess. That sounds like it is an oxymoron, but if you try to make it fun, your child will be more likely to remember their passwords. Here are some simple tips to get their brain turning.

  • Use made-up words or phrases. If there was something that was important to them as a young child, like a stuffed animal name, try to integrate it, but do not make it the only word. Try to use three or more for added complexity.
  • Do not use simple, common passwords like ABCDE, 123455, or “password.” These are very easy for hackers to crack and get into your accounts.
  • Use long passwords of at least eight characters or more.
  • Be sure to include numbers, capital letters, and symbols. Moreover, do not just use them in easy-to-guess ways. Avoid using characters in the place of vowels, for example, using an exclamation point (!) instead of I and an at symbol (@) instead of a. These are easy substitutions that are easy to guess.
  • Do not use the same passwords everywhere. If your password gets compromised and you use it in multiple places, hackers will have access to your kids’ personal information in multiple locations.

Keeping your child’s information secure is so important, and that starts with strong passwords that are harder to compromise. If you instill these tips in your children from a young age, you will help start them with a strong digital literacy foundation they can build on for years to come.

Do Not Share Passwords

This one may be hard for your children to understand. After all, they know your phone password! But it is very important that your kids do not share their passwords with anyone but their parents—and that includes their siblings. The more people who know their password, the more likely it is that people could get access to their account that should not.

When you are trying to make sure that your children understand why they should not share their passwords, explain to them some of the scenarios that could happen. Below are just a few examples.

  • Someone could pretend to be them.
  • Someone could send mean emails and hurt friendships.
  • Someone could open accounts in bad places.
  • Someone could change passwords and lock them out of their accounts.
  • Someone could spend money if there are bank accounts attached.

These are just a few examples, but ones that should resonate with your children, so they know not to share their passwords. If they do, they will need to make sure to tell you who they shared it with and why. You can then determine if you need to change their passwords.

Remember that this does not apply to you as a parent. You should have all of your children’s passwords who are under the age of 18 as a safety precaution. This will help provide you with peace of mind knowing that you can monitor their online activity for their safety and security. There are a lot of scary people out there, and not just those looking to steal their passwords.

Avoid Phishing Attempts

Hackers can use creative ways to get your password, and you give them an opening fall for any of their phishing attempts.

  • These could be fake password reset emails, where once you click on a link, you will be asked to enter your password.
  • They could also be attachments that, once you open them, they download harmful applications on your computer.

Phishing is any attempt to get access to your computer and passwords, and a lot of these attempts look very legitimate, so it is important to teach your children what to look out for. If you did not request a password reset, chances are that it is a fake trying to get your information.

Do Not Use the Same Password Different Places

It may be hard to keep track of many different passwords, but it is important that you and your child create a special password for your children at each website, platform, or application. This will help protect their information.

  • If there is a data breach at one site, then they only have to worry about that one location.
  • If you are using the same password, they could have access to a lot more information, which could be dangerous.

Your child may not be able to use a password manager at school, but these are resources that are encrypted to help you to store your passwords across multiple platforms. They can also create strong passwords that will be very hard to crack too. These are valuable tools, but you will need to make sure that you do not just rely on them for all your passwords in case you get locked out.

What is an Example of a Strong Password?

Now that you know what to do and what to avoid when you are trying to teach your children password safety, you may be wondering what makes a password strong. There are many ways that you can approach creating a strong password, and you need to make sure that you set passwords that are very easy for your child to remember.

One way to do this is to speak to their interests or their sense of humor.

  • Use their interests as inspiration. For example, if they love magic, you could do something like AbramagiCkadabrA#7. This is a good password because it breaks up a real word, has random capitalization, a number, and a special character in it.
  • Use something they will find funny. For example, little kids are often amused by bathroom humor, so you could make their password something like @uniFARTcorn3. Again, you hit all the likely parameters of password requirements, and your kids will have fun typing it.
  • Use foods and hobbies. For example, you could make their password Apple3picking!EAO. They love apple picking, their favorite number, a special character, and random letters or abbreviations of the apple orchard.

You want to make your password hard to guess but easy for you to remember, so using things that will trigger your memory or make you smile when your child types it in will make them more likely to remember it.

It is not recommended to have a digital file of passwords on your computer, but if you have to, you can write them down for your kids until they have them memorized. Just make sure not to lose where you wrote them down!

Use Password Safety Resources

There are plenty of resources out there to help you teach your children internet, computer, and password safety, and one great resource is our Cyber Security Quiz. This is a fun and educational quick that both you and your kids can take to learn more about computer safety and security.

The creators of the You Are Safe Online's Cyber Security Quiz want everyone to be safe online. The quiz (and the website) focus on:

  • Teaching people of all ages to avoid phishing
  • Teaching people of all ages to avoid spam
  • Teaching people of all ages to avoid being hacked

It is an engaging way to provide a primer for your kids and a refresher for yourself on cybersecurity best practices. You can never be too safe with your personal information online!

Help your kids stay safe online by playing our quiz

A few minutes a day will teach you what 'computer words' mean and what you should look out for.

Let's make the world a safer place, together!
* completely free, no registration, no download

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