Often, we make the mistake of thinking our kids are more tech-savvy than we are. While your child may be able to master the latest video game in one sitting or even learn to code, there are still some things you can teach him or her about tech devices. And one thing that parents tend to be particularly good at is keeping their kids safe, whether it be online or off. While you’re teaching your child about online safety, don’t forget to instruct them on the importance of secure passwords. Here are some tips you’ll want to be sure to share.
### Create secure passwords.
Strong, secure passwords can keep others from guessing your child’s password and gaining access to their private information. This information can be used to bully them, stalk them, or steal their identities, so teaching your child how to create an impenetrable password is a must. The online safety experts at Connect Safely recommend that passwords be lengthy, easy to remember, but difficult for others to guess. Consider encouraging your child to think of a sentence or phrase that means something to them and then use it to create an acronym that could serve as a password. For example, the sentence “I graduated from Lakeview Elementary in 2005” could become the password “IgfLEi2005.” Incorporating symbols, capital letters, and numbers into passwords make them even stronger.
### Keep passwords to yourself.
Kids can be particularly naïve with their secrets, and passwords are no exceptions. According to Teen Angels, 66% of tween and teen girls reported sharing their online passwords with someone else. Combine this with the on-again, off-again relationships of the teenage years, and you have a recipe for disaster. Make sure your kids know that they should share their passwords with one person only—you. Even their BFF shouldn’t be privy to this information. The temptation to hack or share or both is just too great.
### Change passwords regularly.
It’s a no-brainer that hackers are pretty technologically advanced, so keeping any password completely safe is a challenge. There are even elaborate computer programs that hackers now use to guess even the most obscure passwords. That’s why it’s important to instruct your child to change their passwords regularly. Most online security experts recommend creating a new password once every six months.
Don’t assume that your child knows the importance of using strong passwords. Kids are suckers for instant gratification and so they may be tempted to type in the first thing that comes to mind when asked to create a password. Unfortunately, these are the very passwords that hackers are likely to guess first. Think “123456” or “letmein” for instance. Take a few minutes to go over these quick password guidelines with your child and rest easy knowing that his personal information will be more secure as a result.