Privacy & Security

Just as in real life, it's important for young people to know whom they can trust with their information online. Though security programs and privacy settings can help block some issues, such as computer viruses and cookies, kids should also learn how to create strong passwords and protect their private information. Starting in elementary school, kids can learn the importance of looking at a website's privacy policy with their families and asking for permission before creating accounts or downloading files. Older teens can learn concrete strategies for identifying scams, as well as limit the types of information that companies collect about them through apps and websites. Developing skills around Internet privacy and safety can help set a strong foundation for students and their digital lives.

The Dos and Don'ts of Creating Strong Passwords
  • Do make your passwords eight or more characters, using combinations of letters, numbers, and symbols. (These are harder to crack than regular words because there are more combinations to try.)
  • Don't include any private-identity information in your password. (People may easily guess passwords that include your name, address, birth date, and so on.)
  • Do change your password at least every six months. (This way, even if someone does guess your password, they won't be able to get into your account for long.)
  • Don't share your password with your friends. (Even if you trust them, they might unintentionally do something that puts you or your information at risk.)
Why Teach It

Help your students …

  • identify strategies for creating and protecting strong passwords;
  • spot and avoid online scams;
  • and understand the concept of Internet safety and privacy, why companies collect information, and how to understand privacy policies.

Kids may not realize they're putting their information in jeopardy, because the warning signs aren't always obvious. With your help, students can master the fine art of password creation, recognize and avoid online scams, and distinguish positive and safe sharing from oversharing. These skills are crucial to the security of the digital devices your students use as well as the information those devices store. Otherwise, your students may expose themselves and their families to serious issues, such as computer viruses or data and identity theft.