The family password paradigm

The family password paradigm

Jeff Shiner by Jeff Shiner on

Today we’re publishing a new report which has some great insights into the state of online security, password use, and password sharing in the home.

It’s a must-read for anyone interested in improving their family’s online security, or with a professional interest in consumer-level security. Please feel free to download the report right away, but I did also want to take a moment to share a few highlights and thoughts.

A brighter, more secure future

Kicking off on a note of optimism, I’m personally delighted to see that, according to our survey, 40% of parents talk about online security with their preschool children. Yes, that number could be higher, but it still amounts to a huge number of parents talking about online safety with young children. The idea that 40% of little ones are budding security and privacy advocates is very heartening indeed.

Points of concern

Perhaps inevitably, though, points of concern do arise – particularly when we dig into the areas of password use and password sharing. One remarkable stat for me was that, of the people that have kept their first ever password for an online service, 12% cite nostalgia as the reason.

Now, we don’t recommend changing a perfectly good password for no reason, but I’m somewhat concerned that people may be clutching on to insecure passwords out of emotional attachment. If a password is short, non-random, or reused elsewhere, we can’t recommend changing it strongly enough.

I’d also like to highlight one of the insights we’ve seen into how passwords are shared inside of families. I say inside – turns out that, apparently, 55% of dads are OK with their kids sharing their video streaming password with friends.

We recommend password sharing, as long as it’s done securely. For things like family streaming media accounts it makes total sense, and we’ve built both 1Password Business and 1Password Families with the means to share passwords in a safe and controlled way. That said, we don’t recommend letting the kids WhatsApp your Netflix login to all and sundry.

Bad day at work

The insights into working from home gave rise to further surprises. These include the insight that 51% of parents let their children access work accounts.

Image showing child using a laptop and highlighting the fact that 51 percent of parents let their children access work accounts


I hope the implications for data security don’t need to be explained, but one quote from a parent brings home why this can be a bad idea at a level we can all relate to: “Once my boy accessed my work laptop. He accidentally deleted my presentation”. And that’s the worst kind of deleted: the irretrievable, start all over again kind.

Get the full report

Please do take a look at the full report for many more data points on these and other areas. In particular, there’s a section on end-of-life planning I haven’t touched on here that tacitly poses some tough questions for the security and technology industries to grapple with.

And suffice to say our talented team of designers and illustrators have gone to town to create some charts for you to pore over. We created this report, in part, to stimulate conversation – so if there’s anything you’d like to discuss with us as a result, please do let us know. Happy reading! ☕️

Jeff Shiner

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