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An initiative of Google and Test-Achats

Secure your secrets

How to build a great password

Children learn how to create a strong password – and make sure it stays private after they create it.

Goals

Recognize the importance of never sharing passwords, except with parents or guardians.

Understand the importance of screen locks that protect devices.

Know how to create passwords that are hard to guess, yet easy to remember.

Choose the right security for their login settings, including two-factor verification.

Let's talk

Better safe than sorry

Digital technology makes it easy for us to communicate with friends, classmates, teachers, and relatives. We can connect with them in so many ways: via email, text,  and instant messages; in words, pics, and videos; using phones, tablets, and laptops. (How do you connect with your friends?)

But the same tools that make it easy for us to share information also make it easier  for hackers and scammers to steal that information and use it to damage our devices, our relationships, and our reputations. 

Protecting ourselves, our info, and our devices means doing simple, smart things like using screen locks on phones, being careful about putting personal info on unlocked devices that can be lost or stolen, and, above all, building strong passwords.

  • Who can guess what the two most commonly used passwords are?  (Answer: “1 2 3 4 5 6” and “password.”)
  • Letʼs brainstorm some other bad passwords and what specifically makes them bad. (Examples: your full name, your phone number, the word “chocolate.”)

Who thinks these passwords are good? ;)

Activity

Letʼs practice our new skills by playing the password game with your children.

Create passwords

Each one of the family will have 60 seconds to create a password.

Compare passwords

Write both passwords on a paper.

Vote!

For the Best and discuss whose is stronger.

Hereʼs an idea for creating an extra-secure password:

  • Think of a fun phrase that you can remember. It could be your favorite song lyric, book title, movie catchphrase, etc.
  • Choose the first letter or first couple letters from each word in the phrase.
  • Change some letters to symbols or numbers.
  • Make some letters uppercase and some lowercase.
  • Letʼs practice our new skills by playing the password game.

Guideline

Here are some tips for creating passwords to keep your information safe.

Strong passwords

are based on a descriptive phrase or sentence thatʼs easy for you to remember and difficult for someone else to guess – like the first letters in words that make up a favorite title or song, the first letters of words in a sentence about something you did – and include a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols.
For example, “I went to Western Elementary School for grade 3” could be used to build a password like: Iw2We$t4g3.

Moderate passwords

are passwords that are strong and not easy for malicious software to guess but could be guessed by someone who knows you (for example, IwenttoWestern).

Weak passwords

commonly use personal information like a pet’s name, are easy to crack, and can be guessed by someone who knows you (for example, “IloveBuddy” or “Ilikechocolate”).

DOs

  • Use a different password for each of your important accounts.
  • Use at least eight characters. The longer the better (as long as you can remember it!).
  • Use combinations of letters (uppercase and lowercase), numbers, and symbols.
  • Make your passwords memorable so you don’t need to write them down, which would be risky.
  • Immediately change your password if you know or believe it may be known by someone other than a trusted adult.
  • Always use strong screen locks on your devices. Set your devices to automatically lock in case they end up in the wrong hands.
  • Consider using a password manager, such as one built into your browser, to remember your passwords. This way you can use a unique password for each of your accounts and not have to remember them all.

DON’Ts

  • Donʼt use personal information (name, address, email, phone number, Social Security number, motherʼs maiden name, birth dates, etc.), or common words in your password.
  • Donʼt use a password thatʼs easy to guess, like your nickname, just the name of your school, favorite baseball team, a string of numbers (like 123456), etc. And definitely don’t use the word “password”!
  • Donʼt share your password with anyone other than your parents or guardian.
  • Never write passwords down where someone can find them.

Takeaway

It’s important and fun to create strong passwords.

Vocabulary 

Privacy

Protecting people’s data and personal information (also called sensitive information).

Security

Protecting people’s devices and the software on them.

Two-step verification (also called two-factor verification and two-step authentication)

A security process where logging in to a service requires two separate steps or two “factors,” such as a password and a one-time code. For example, you may have to enter your password and then enter a code that was texted to your phone or a code from an app.

Password or passcode

A secret combination used to access something. It may take different forms; for example, you may have a four-digit number-only code that you use for your phone lock and a much more complex password for your email account. In general, you should make your passwords as long and complex as you can while still being able to remember them.

Encryption

The process of converting information or data into a code that makes it unreadable and inaccessible.

Complexity

The goal when creating a secure password. For example, a password is complex when it has a mix of numbers, special characters (like “$” or “&”), and both lowercase and uppercase letters.

Hacker

A person who uses computers to gain unauthorized access to other people’s or organizations’ devices and data.