Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Passwords And Your Kids

I just read a post that a friend sent me about parents and social app/sexting awareness. It's a pretty good post. I don't agree with all the parenting/oversight approaches she's taking, but it's a good overview (if somewhat outdated) of some of the apps and how, as a parent, you might want to approach things in general.

She hit on something important: passwords. She suggests you, as the parent, know all of your kids' passwords, and that you should troll through everything on a regular basis. Hogwash!

First of all, no parent actually has time to troll through all of their kids' online engagements. You'd need the monitoring capability of the NSA at your disposal to even dent the volume of texts/emails/shares/whatever that your kids actually send on a daily basis.

Secondly, I teach my children to never share their passwords with _anyone_... _ever_; that includes me. Passwords are the modern day journal key. They are private, and being loose with them (with _anyone_) can lead to online identity disaster. So... don't ever share them. Teach your kids good password hygiene early so they can carry the lesson forward into an increasingly password crucial world.

Now, I'll admit, as long as they're "kids" I do hold the ultimate nuclear option if they get into trouble online and I need to kill or access their account(s). I have the credentials for the email accounts they respectively use that _all_ social services require for account validation and password resets. Our kids don't even know those exist (yet. and when they do I'll need to adjust my headspace and write an updated blog post). We, the parents, are the holders of the email accounts. With this option at our disposal, we can manage accounts if we are compelled to, but at the same time, we can treat passwords like the holy grail they are, and teach (without exceptions for mom and dad) our kids the same.

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