A recent New York Times article, Young, in Love, and Sharing Everything, Including a Password, reminds parents and teachers to take time to talk to adolescents about password privacy. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Matt Richtel, reports that kids share passwords — just as they share gifts and secrets — as tokens of trust and affection. But often an adolescent relationship doesn’t last and neither does the trust. What happens afterward can lead to hurt and humiliation.
Don’t wait until pre-adolescent years to start talking about digital topics such as password privacy. Family conversations, at home and at school, can begin as soon as children receive their first passwords, and over time these talks help kids develop a sense of personal privacy. Discussions can be brief and range over lots of digital topics, but they should occur regularly.
Many adults will be pleasantly surprised that children want to talk about these issues. My post, The Digital Citizenship Minute at the Teaching Tolerance blog, highlights some of the topics fifth graders want adults to address.