Passwords aren't just a problem for adults

A new report shows that while kids may know better, they're not great at passwords either.

Erin Carson Former Senior Writer
Erin Carson covered internet culture, online dating and the weird ways tech and science are changing your life.
Expertise Erin has been a tech reporter for almost 10 years. Her reporting has taken her from the Johnson Space Center to San Diego Comic-Con's famous Hall H. Credentials
  • She has a master's degree in journalism from Syracuse University.
Erin Carson

Researchers surveyed kids about their password habits. 


Though you might assume children are the most tech-savvy generation out there, it turns out there's an area where they're just as behind as adults: passwords.

National Institute of Standards and Technology released research on Wednesday showing that even though kids are taught best practices for creating passwords, they're not following them. 

NIST surveyed more than 1,500 children, ages 8 to 18, and found that, for example, 87% of high schoolers use the same password for everything. Depending on age group (45% of high schoolers versus 23% of elementary school kids), many share passwords with friends. Researchers suggested that those surveyed don't see password sharing as risky behavior, but rather a matter of building friendships and trust.

"The end goal of this research is to better support children and provide recommendations that can be used to provide guidance to them, parents and educators," NIST researcher Yee-Yin Choong said in a statement. 

The research did find that as kids got older, their passwords got more complex, going from examples like "yellow" in elementary school to "dancingdinosaursavrwhoop164"in high school. The research also showed that kids get help with their passwords from family members.

"Families play a central role in establishing best practices and ... parents affect kids' behavior with passwords," NIST said.