Google Basics Series Digital Citizenship – Creating Strong Passwords
Just in Time For Fall! ~ Creating Safe & Positive Learning Environment Online – 7 Necessary Skills
Skill #1 – CREATE STRONG PASSWORDS
In this second Summer Google Basics Series, we will break down 7 Digital Citizenship Skills that our students really need to know in hopes that they will weave these strategies into authentic and practical use when online. I will be sharing with you real-life scenarios in a storytelling format that I use to teach my kids to protect personal information and how to value and guard their online presence. This week~ Create Strong Passwords!
I have consolidated many hours of researching down to 8 Necessary Skills. Many of these topics were also a part of my training for my Google Educator Certification, so I feel confident that regardless of all of the Digital Citizenship content out there, these topics include research-based fundamentals that are worthy of our precious class time. My hope is that my resources allow you to efficiently communicate privacy basics in a way that is non-threatening, yet in a language our students can understand and be well equipped to handle any breach of privacy. (See information below about purchasing my “7 Digital Citizenship Skills” Slides, that include a Google Form at the end to check students’ understanding)
Skill #1 ~ Create and Guard a Strong Password
The first step to any safety plan is to guard yourself against a threat. Most of our students do not have the life experience to merit a concern for protecting their private information. Nor do they understand how their information can be of value to anyone else with bad intentions. I basically tell my kids that online safety is very much like safety outside of their home. Stay close to what you know and ask a trusted adult to help you when you get stuck. One of the biggest unfamiliar concerns in an online threat is, unless you guard your valuable information, someone can take it and you do not even know it, unlike knowing if someone steals your bike from your garage.
Why Create A Strong Password?
Basically, by creating a strong password that no one can guess, protects your personal information so no one else can pretend to be you online or find and contact you in any way. A strong password is your first line of defense against any malicious hacker, much like keeping a door locked and only you have a key!
What Is a Strong Password?
Below are 7 suggested features of a “Strong Password”. I fall short on many of these myself, especially #5-7.
1. Combine UPPER & lowercase letters
3. At least 8 Characters Long, Longer the better
4. Symbols like – @ # $ % & * +
5. Different Passwords For Each Account ~ See Password Manager Suggestion below
6. Create a Passphrase ~Take a sentence & turn it into a password-
Example- WOO!TPwontSB = Woohoo! The Packers won the Super Bowl!
7. Secure, Not a previously Shared Password or Has been Used before
According to a recent hack into Yahoo’s database, the ten most common passwords leaked were:
After we learn about the purpose of having a strong password and what strong passwords actually look like, we practice. (This is an example of what I have in my lesson slides & Google Form)
Rate the passwords from worst to best: Why did you order them in this way?
What To Do If You Forget Your Password?
Students will need to know how to click on the “Forgot Password” tab to recover or reset a password offered in most login screens when they are old enough to have access to an email account, usually after they turn 13. As adults, we have all certainly had enough experience with this skill!
Managing All Of Your Passwords
Many teachers and families have their own way to manage passwords. Some families write them down in a safe place in their home and others use a password management service like LastPass. I have seen schools use the Clever login support service, an index card system or even lean on the fact that Chrome will remember passwords for the kids. Another big “Whoo-whoo” for Google!
Managing such important information is a life-long skill. John Sowash, Google Certifed Trainer & Administrator and Author of The Chromebook Classroom recommends using a login card to get our younger kids started. He also says that “Kids knowing how to login (and use passwords) is today’s equivalent to bringing your pencil to class.”
I have my students keep track of our classroom account passwords and their own personal passwords inside their school-issued planners, while I keep a notebook locked in my desk of their passwords as well just in case they lose their planner. It takes time to maintain but it is totally worth it to have a backup plan. I realize that this is not the most secure way but it is a way to start managing passwords as students are learning basic digital citizenship skills.
Here is a rough idea of what it looked like:
*Bonus- Use Last pass-A free service that remembers all your passwords so you do not have to. Save time, frustration, and a loss of productivity. Think about how much time have you wasted looking for a password or resetting through email?
At the end of this mini-series, I will offer you my complete set of Digital Citizenship & Online Safety for $14.95 that includes a Google Form at the end to check students’ understanding (Still in Progress) compiled from this Digital Citizenship series to teach your kids the basics of Online Safety. They should be available just in time for the beginning of the school year or soon after. My slides are a culmination of personal experience, real-life scenarios and information I learned while pursuing my Google Educator Training. These lessons break procedures down into the best basic-bite-sized pieces, offering you kid-friendly language, all the extras like videos, links and even the images you see throughout this series so that you may easily use the slides in your classroom and learn alongside your students.
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