Schools and parents face new challenges keeping children safe in the digital age. Some of you may be aware of an incident earlier this month in which a former student was able to log into several student accounts and make changes to documents there because he knew the students’ passwords. In response, RSU 12 has revised its password protocols and is working to develop a cyber response protocol as part of its emergency response system.
Online account security and password management is a life skill that is important for children to learn and practice. Below are some suggestions for creating and maintaining strong passwords and some ideas for ways in which parents can help monitor their child’s account. These tips and suggestions are created in collaboration with Google, but they apply equally well to any other digital accounts your child may have (video game accounts, social media, etc.)
Create a strong password
Creating a secure password is an important part of protecting your Google Account. A strong password helps to:
Keep your personal information safe
Protect your emails, files, and other content
Prevent someone from breaking into your account
Step 1: Meet password requirements
Make your password with 8 characters or more. It can be any combination of letters, numbers, and symbols. You can't use a password that you've used before on your account.
Step 2: Follow tips for a good password
A strong password is nearly impossible for someone else to guess. Follow these tips to learn what makes a good password, then apply them to your own.
Use letters, numbers & symbols
Avoid personal information & common words
Don't reuse passwords
Consider a memorable word or phrase and replace some letters with numbers or symbols. For example, instead of “Example1” use “Ex@mp1e1”
Step 3: Keep passwords secure
After you create a strong password, take steps to keep it safe. Share it with your parent(s), but avoid sharing it with friends or writing it where others could see it.
Step 4: Periodically change your password
If you forget your password, it must be reset by a Google administrator. Let your teacher know, and they will help you get your password reset.
*Google does not permit users under 18 years of age to add a recovery phone number or email address or to rest their own passwords.
Tips to help keep your child’s account secure:
Encourage your child to keep an eye on your email for any security alerts from Google. Google will send an email if the account is accessed from an unknown device or if a login appears suspicious. If your child receives a security alert and is not certain about the activity described, they should contact their teacher or the school’s tech integrator immediately.
Consider adding your child’s Google email account to your cell phone or tablet for access to their email so you can monitor any suspicious activity or security alerts. Let the school know immediately if you have any concerns.
Make a date in your calendar to have your child change his/her password. Consider changing it every couple of months.
For more information about internet safety and technology use, you may want to visit CommonSenseMedia, a nonprofit organization geared to helping families make smart choices about media. Here’s a link to their page on Parent Concerns: https://www.commonsensemedia.org/parent-concerns