All about passwords

This is the 2nd part of my series relating blogging to the Australian Curriculum.

Whenever students log in to the school internet or check emails or write on the class blog, they need to have a password. It is most important they understand the importance of a strong password.

As their teacher, you might decide on the password they use on the blog; younger students may use another password they already have for Study Ladder or Mathletics or Reading Eggs but these are often very weak.

The older students from grade 5 on should be starting to create their own passwords. Here are a couple of videos giving tips on how to create a strong password.

Sue Waters from Edublogs says a strong password:

  • Is at least 8 characters long
  • Is unique and different from your other passwords.
  • Doesn’t include terms that are significant to you like pet’s name, username, real name, date, phone number that are easy to guess or use complete words that make it easier for hackers who use dictionary attack programs.
  • Also avoid common word misspellings and words in which letters have been replaced by numbers or symbols because some dictionary attack programs also check for these.
  • Contains a combination of uppercase and lower case letters, numbers and symbols (keyboard characters that aren’t letters or numbers).

Students need to keep their passwords secure and again here are some tips from Sue Waters.

  1. If you do write down your passwords don’t label them ‘password’ or leave them in plain sight on or near your computer.
  2. Don’t use ‘Remember the password’ if you are sharing a computer with other people.  If someone knows your username, and you used ‘remember the password’, they just need to add your username to log into your account.   You can make sure your password has been removed after you log out by clearing stored passwords.
  3. Always log out of your accounts if your device is around others and make sure all passwords are cleared if someone asks to use your device.
  4. Don’t give your password to anyone except your parents or teacher- not even your friends or a sibling.

Things to discuss with students

  • What are weak passwords
  • How to create strong passwords
  • How to remember passwords

Connection to curriculum

F-2: ACTDIP005

recognising and discussing the need for cyber-safety when using online information systems, for example recognising that shared personal information can be used for undesirable purposes and that using a password is a means of protecting identity

3-4: ACTDIP013

considering ways of managing the use of social media to maintain privacy needs, for example activating privacy settings to avoid divulging personal data such as photographs, addresses, and names and recognising that all digital interactions are difficult to erase (digital footprints)

5-6: ACTDIP022

considering ways of managing the use of social media to maintain privacy needs, for example activating privacy settings to avoid divulging personal data such as photographs, addresses and names

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