When I was a Police Officer, one of the most common conversations I had with parents went along the lines of, “someone has hacked into my daughter’s Hotmail account and……..” In reality however, what had happened was that the daughter had shared her password with one of her friends, or had as a password something easily guessable. Kids have a vastly different concept of the need to keep a password a secret to adults, and I have yet to find a young person that has not shared their password with a ‘friend’.  Commonly they list their favourite food, pets name or footy team as a password, something that anyone could easily guess. As adults, we know that passwords are to keep something safe and we do not share them with others. Kids don’t see it that way. Discuss with your children the reason for passwords, and why they should not be shared with friends in any circumstances. Help them to create a secure password that no-one else could guess and make sure that you include upper and lower case letters, numbers and/or a symbol. Change it as least four times a year and whenever you think someone else may have it.

Writer Susan McLean, general editor Ramesh Manocha.