The internet is driven by accounts, usernames, and passwords. You likely have dozens of them (and probably a dozen more that you have forgotten about). You might not think about it, but your kids are probably starting to stockpile accounts as well. This is especially true if they have a cell phone.
It is imperative that you get them thinking about good password management right away to avoid problems down the line. Below are some good pieces of advice that you can share with them (and that you should probably use yourself if you aren’t).
Don’t use the same password for multiple apps/services
Security breaches are inevitable at large companies. That means that your account information WILL eventually be captured by bad actors at some point. You need to operate from day one as though that information is available. The best way to keep this from going from a problem to an all-caps PROBLEM is to avoid using the same password at multiple sites. This limits your exposure because bad actors won’t be able to use your password to gain access to other sites.
Make sure your passwords are at least 8 characters long
This is going to be the easiest rule to follow because many sites require that your passwords be this long. But, honestly? The longer the better. If you can remember a 10 character password, then use it. The higher the number of characters a password has, the longer it can take to use for a computer to figure out what your password is.
Make smart password choices
It doesn’t matter how long your password is if you use your first and last name or your address as your password. Do your best to make your password hard to guess.
You don’t have to make things hard on yourself either. You will want to choose passwords that you can remember. One way to do that is to choose a phrase like “I Love Super Mario Bros” and then convert it into a password by using only some of the letters or switching the words around. You could end up with something like IluvSuperMB. You can make it every better by adding a # or an ! somewhere in the password.
Don’t write your passwords down or store them digitally
You are going to be tempted to write your passwords down and keep them in your wallet so you always have them, or to save them in a note on your phone. Doing that gives more people access to your passwords. We don’t live in a cyberpunk dystopia yet so the passwords that you keep in your own memory aren’t going to get hacked… yet.
Don’t share your passwords with anyone (except maybe your parents)
You need to protect your passwords. The best way to do that is to limit who has access to them. That means your friends and classmates as well. Don’t share your password with ANYONE.
With that said, there can be an exception to this rule: parents. This is something that families will need to discuss on their own, but some parents are going to demand passwords so they can access their kids social media accounts. This is a privacy issue, but not a password specific one. It is up to each family how they are going to handle privacy and account access within their homes.
Those are just a handful of tips for parents to use when discussing passwords with their kids. Give some of them a try and leave a comment below with your thoughts on how to keep your passwords safe and secure!
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