Summertime, and the livin’ is easy . . .  and online. With school out, kids are probably online at least part of the day. They’re connecting with friends and family members on social media, surfing and streaming videos, and gaming on mobile phones, tablets, laptops, TVs, and other internet-connected devices. 

It’s a good time for a quick review of some password safety tips for everyone, especially kids.

  1. Sharing is always good, but not when it comes to passwords. Impress upon kids that passwords should only be shared with parents, never with friends.
  2. “123456” and “password” are still frequently cited as the most commonly used passwords. Bad choice!
  3. Passwords that are more than 12 characters, with a combination of upper and lower case letters (including at least one capital), numbers, and special symbols are recommended. Don’t make the passwords easy to guess.
  4. There are online password generators for secure passwords. If you prefer to make up your own, use something familiar to you, but disguise it with other characters so it looks like gibberish. It shouldn’t be easy to guess for someone who knows you and your interests or what you like. The name of a child’s baseball team or pet is not a good choice.
  5. Consider making your password a passphrase. A passphrase is a random string of words that are easy to remember and must be used in sequence. The phrase makes sense to the user but not to anyone else.
  6. Reusing the same password over and over across multiple accounts is risky. Use different passwords on different accounts. And change them periodically.
  7. Set up two-factor or multi-factor authentication to add an extra layer of security. For example, after you log in, a one-time passcode is sent to a mobile phone via text.
  8. A password manager to keep track of multiple passwords may be an option, depending on the age of the child.

For more online security tips, check out our blog Anytime Is the Right Time for a Digital Declutter.

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