Age-appropriate password "best practice'' ontologies for early educators and parents

Suzanne Prior, Karen Renaud*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)
202 Downloads (Pure)


Many mobile apps are developed specifically for use by children. As a consequence, children become actors in world where they use passwords to authenticate themselves from a very young age. As such, there is a need for guidance to inform educators and parents about how to prepare children for responsible password practice. Very little attention has been paid to determining which password-related principles young children should know, and the age at which this information should be imparted. To address this deficiency, we commenced by deriving an ontology of “best practice” password principles from official sources. These password principles encode essential knowledge for password users of all ages and provide a benchmark that can be used to ground a set of age-appropriate ontologies. We compared this benchmark “good practice” ontology to the advice provided by a wide-ranging snapshot of password-related children’s books and parents’ online resources. We then consulted the research literature to identify the skills required to understand and apply each principle, and removed those that were unsuitable for young children. We then consulted parents of young children to help us to confirm the classification of the ontology’s principles in terms of age appropriateness. Parents also helped us to rephrase each principle to maximise accessibility and understandability for each age group. We conclude with our final set of three age-appropriate password best practice ontologies as a helpful resource for early education professionals and parents.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100169
Number of pages28
JournalInternational Journal of Child-Computer Interaction
Early online date8 Apr 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2020


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