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Be honest: How confident are you about the security of your passwords? Follow-up question: Do you have the same level of confidence that your children have good password habits? Grown-ups often make jokes about how hard it is to remember all of your passwords — let alone come up with secure ones — so you can imagine how hard it is for children, too.
But it's common for little ones to be a bit cavalier about their passwords, IT administrator Justas Vaiciulis tells Yahoo Life. This happens because children "do not [always] take [passwords] very seriously,” Vaiciulis says. It's also normal, especially in young children who may have abstract or vague ideas about cybercrime and internet security.
This lack of awareness, however, can cause kids to make the same mistakes as some adults when it comes to creating passwords. Here are some common password mistakes for both you and child to avoid:
#1 Using the same password all over the internet
We've all been guilty of using the same password for more than one account. Who can blame us? Passwords are easy to remember when you only have to keep track of one or two.
But experts say not so fast. “It’s imperative that young people develop good cyber habits from the beginning,” James E. Lee, chief operating officer of the Identity Theft Resource Center, tells Yahoo Life. “The most important practice is never using the same password on more than one account, and not using the same password for your school — and later work — accounts and personal accounts." Lee adds: "This advice goes for mom and dad, too."
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#2 Passwords are easily guessed words or phrases
“It’s very common among young folks to use the names of their crushes as a password,” Vaiciulis says. “Although it seems safe... the easiest passwords to crack are names!" Vaiciulis also shares that as a teenager, "I made the same mistake, believe me," adding: "Change your passwords!”
Vaiciulis also suggests avoiding using easily-guessed sequences, such as "123" or public information, such as part of your name or address.
“Using numeric or alphabetic sequences like 123456, abcdefg or just Password123 [have] always... been and still are the most crackable passwords,” Vaiciulis says. “[So is] using your birthday or your home address." Vaiciulis says that a hacker who has this info about you "will definitely try to use it against you.”
#3 Not asking a trusted adult for help
Even though kids like to think of themselves as more grown up, they definitely need guidance when it comes to creating secure passwords. “Having an adult help set up a password can help prevent bad habits, like password sharing,” says Lee.
Even something simple like writing down their accounts and passwords and giving it to a parent for safekeeping can help when they forget their login information.
Older kids and teens may be ready for more advanced password protection, however. “Parents should also help set up more sophisticated protection tools [like multi-factor authentication] available for older teens,” adds Lee. “Older teens may also have enough accounts that they need to use a password manager application to keep track of all of their passwords.”
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