the kiddos learn about passwords

Before we begin, no actual passwords are used during the writing of this post. I’m satiric, not stupid.

The Kiddos are experimenting with the computer and have thus encountered for the first time the wonder of the modern password. There is a child-safe account on the oldest computer, so we gave it a password they all knew until an incident after which I changed it. Now only my Patient Husband and I know the password.

Kiddo#1 attempted to hack into it (good luck!) and finally sputtered, “How am I supposed to hack into the computer if I don’t know the password?” Yes, darling, that’s the point.

Kiddo#1 has a game that only works on his father’s “real” computer. And even I don’t know the password for that one. My Patient Husband long ago worked for someone who wanted an insane degree of security and therefore demanded hundred-character passwords that had upper and lowercase, numbers, shifted characters, and couldn’t have any three letter combination in the middle of the password that might be part of an actual word in English, Spanish or Latin. And it had to be changed every 36 hours (and you couldn’t repeat passwords, either. Nor were you allowed to write them down.)

My Patient Husband says this is not actually true. It only seems that way compared to my passwords.

As an at-home freelancer I never have to share the computer (other than with my kids) and at my previous job I had a useless login code that neither tracked performance nor limited which areas of the network I could access. (I kid you not: I was able to navigate into the company president’s directory, and I could see the VP’s employee evaluation notes. Good thing I’m not totally evil.)

When upgrading software, my husband will call across the house, “I need your password!” and I’ll shout back, “It’s still ••••!”

By contrast, if I’m using his computer and need the keychain code, he’ll come type it over my shoulder.

Kiddo#2 recently joined a child-oriented online site. Every few weeks, she dutifully changes her password. She does not tell anyone her passwords (Note: I could get it if I wanted — parental stuff and all) and they contain numbers and letters and shifted characters.

Daddy will be proud. Mommy will only have a headache. But at least the Kiddo is picking up good habits early.


  1. Ivy

    A few years ago, on a now defunct system, that stored faked up databases of make believe information, just for testing our software. So we’d invent legal suits such as “Apples vs Oranges”, “Good vs Evil”, and “Summer vs Winter” along with attorneys (Grape Banannapeal represented Apples while Citrus Rind was the council of record for Oranges).

    My password was RuroniKenshin I was going through a Kenshin fangirl phase, so it seemed fine at the time, until a coworker needed it. A coworker called up for it one day while I was out sick, then asked me to spell it. I got to “capital K” and he just blurted out “Why do you need a password that secure?” Not wanting to admit that I was just that enamored with a cartoon I said, “Oh that is a low security password. For a real one I’d have changed the o to a 0 or the the i to 1.” My live password (and the only machine it ever worked on has long since been crushed in a trash compactor somewhere) was Ivy

    1. philangelus

      Back at the job from Hell, I’m pretty sure at one point I changed my password to “BiteMe.”

      BTW, who won the case of Apples vs Oranges? I’ve always wondered.

  2. cricketB

    Everyone in our family invented a different way of encrypting our password notes. Double the fun.

  3. Mary Nicewarner

    I hate passwords! EVERYTHING needs a password nowadays. Even Webkinz needs a password (though I try to limit my time there).

    BiteMe’s a good one 🙂

    1. philangelus

      Rude but totally private. Only God knew I was telling them off every day, and it made sure I got at least one smile during the day. >:-)

  4. Kaci

    Hehe. There’s a system to passwords.

    The only real annoyance I have is when it forces you into consistently complicated passwords that can’t be repeated and must be changed every X amount of time. I get changing it up occasionally – but believe me, when I worked at the software company, everyone agreed it was a nightmare – and the poor IT guys kept having to come fix mine because I couldn’t remember it.

    But on the other note, learning how to do it right (even if you’re not creating passwords God himself would have to try three times) instead of using the same one for everything, or making it far too easy, is good.