CHILDLINE ADVICE: Use a strong password and never share it with anyone
With the summer holidays fast approaching, many children could be spending more time over the coming weeks online.
It is a life lesson we could all be mindful of, even as adults, but this could be the opportune time to talk to your children about ensuring their online accounts are secure.
One way to prevent an account or game being hacked is to use a strong, secure password and to keep it private.
The NSPCC has some useful tips about creating strong passwords, on Net Aware – our joint website with O2, which offers advice on how children can stay safe online.
It is an important topic to talk about as we know from contacts to Childline that some young people might be tempted to share a password as an act of friendship, or a way to show they trust someone.
But it is important they are aware why this isn’t a good idea and that shared passwords can be misused and so it is best to keep them private.
It is also good for children to be aware of ‘phishing’, when someone tries to trick them into giving personal information, such as a password.
It is important that children know they should never click links from emails or messages that ask them to log in or share their details, even if they think they might be genuine. If they are asked to log into a website, they should go to the app or site directly instead.
As well as using passwords, many online services have the option to set up 2-factor authentication, and some online services insist on it.
This adds another layer of security to your password by asking for another piece of information, such as entering a code sent via text message.
A lot of apps and sites allow use of 2-factor authentication, and it is best to use this option whenever possible.
For more advice about staying safe online visit net-aware.org.uk, or if your child needs to talk to someone they can contact Childline.