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Words + Internet

How I helped my mom remember all her passwords

Can you help me with something on my iPad, sweetheart? Few words strike fear into the adult child’s heart like a mother’s request for assistance of a menial computer task. Whether it’s email, text or (like this amazing Amy Schumer sketch) simply turning the damn thing on, the request is never quite what it seems. It’s a trap. A bait and switch if you will. Because no matter the simplicity of the issue I find my self in the same helpless position within seconds.

Mom, what’s your password?

Her face, as flabbergast as if you’d requested a detailed recap of 2010’s Inception, she shrugs and offers a cornucopia of combinations of you and your sister’s childhood nicknames and birthdays. AddyFace1981? Maybe try PooPoo128. You pause and wonder how this sweet woman can’t remember how to get in to her computer, but is adept at posting corky quotes daily on Facebook like, “Wine not?”

I have tried various ways to help Michele maintain her passwords. From spreadsheets to pneumonic devices nothing has stuck. The problem was simple, I was thinking like me and not like momma. This is when I invented a revolutionary solution; pen and paper.

All kidding aside there is an actual system.

It’s so easy.

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Each page represents an account. The left side is where we put down her user names and passwords. When she updates either she simply crosses them out and writes the new one below.

All other information like security questions or second layers of security are recorded on the right side.

 

Never use her name for the user and never use ‘password’ for password. Hackers are getting increasingly aggressive and you need strong passwords.

Always use a number, a symbol and lowercase and capital letters.

Create a personal system. Use a password that relates to the account in a way only you would understand. If it’s your Apple ID, and you like to have an apple and peanut butter after work try, “PeanutButter5pm!”

Change your password regularly.

Don’t forget you can always click, “Forgot your password.” Since you should be changing your password every few months anyway this is not the worst option.

What if she loses her mom memo pad? Simple, she needs to change all her passwords. And since I am confident she ignored #6 this is probably a good idea anyway. The Momento pad is available absolutely anywhere. But, maybe get her something nice like a small moleskin in her favorite color. You might even write her a note on the first page reminding her of all the rules discussed here. It will also serve as a reminder that you were always her favorite.

Love you, mom!