News

22 June 2021

How to Create Strong Passwords Online

teen tablet Passwords article exp Mar 26

We all need to use passwords to keep our online accounts secure, and it is just the same for children on their favourite apps, sites and games. It is important to use strong, secure passwords and to keep them safe.

Your child might have had an account or game hacked, or know of friends that have, and this can often be due to using weak passwords or sharing their passwords with friends.

Your child might be tempted to share a password as an act of friendship, or a way to show they trust someone, it is important to talk with them about why this isn’t a good idea and that shared passwords could be misused so it is best to keep them private.

Helping your child to know how to create a strong password will empower them with good habits as their online activities grow. We have some useful tips for you and your child to create strong passwords.

How to create strong passwords

You can use apps specifically designed to manage your passwords or some devices, such as mobile phones, have their own built in password manager. These can be very helpful as you only need to remember one password for the app as it creates and stores all your other passwords. But it is still a good idea to know how to create a strong password if you need to.

If you are creating your own passwords, here are some tips to help you make sure that they are strong.

  • The longer the password, the stronger it generally is, so use at least 10 characters.
  • Use both upper and lower case letters.
  • Add in numbers and symbols too.

Lots of apps won’t accept a new password until it has each of the above to make sure that it is a strong password.

Here is an example of a way to create a strong password that you can remember:

 

  • Pick your favourite pop star, e.g. Billie Eilish

 

  • Pick your favourite song by that pop star, e.g. Your Power

 

  • Join them together - BillieEilishYourPower

 

  • That’s quite long but easy to remember, so let’s make it stronger, change ‘e’ for ‘3’ and add a symbol between the name and the song - Billi33ilish*YourPow3r

 

The resulting password ticks each of the requirements for a strong password (it’s long, it uses upper and lower-case letters, it has numbers and symbols) so it would take a long time for someone to guess or a computer to crack the password. But remember, a password is only strong if it isn’t shared so here are our top tips.

 

Top password tips for parents

Talk to your child about why strong passwords are vital to keep their accounts and information safe.

Remind your child that passwords are private and most of the time should not be shared with other people. Some passwords they will share with you or their school – remind them that these are trusted adults who have the password to help them.

Remember, a long password is a strong password. Try to include letters, numbers and symbols to make it even stronger.

As well as using passwords, many online services have the option to set up 2-factor authentication, and some online services insist on it. This adds another layer of security to your password by asking for another piece of information.  You might need to enter your password and then enter a code you’re sent via text message.  Lots of apps and sites let you use 2-factor authentication, and you should choose to use it whenever you can.

Talk to your child about ‘phishing’ and how easy it can be to trick people to reveal account information. For example, some children search for free in-game currency, such as free Robux, Fifa Coins or V-Bucks. There are many online scams and it is common to see ‘free in-game currency’ in YouTube videos and social media posts. Often these are scams where a link is shared, the user inputs their username and password to get the free currency and then nothing happens, except an unknown person/s now has the account details. Remind your child they should never share their passwords and account details with anyone else (whatever is being offered in return) and to let you know if they are asked for them.

Talk about what to do if they are worried someone has guessed their password of if they have shared it, and help them to change their passwords if they need to.

Remember to keep your own passwords safe, especially ones which you use to manage accounts and parental controls. Make sure they aren’t known by your children or easy to guess, e.g. their name or date of birth.

For more advice about staying safe online, or if your child needs to talk to someone they can contact Childline.

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