I feel sorry for our kids.
We’ve had the Internet for roughly 20 years, and it looks like it’s here to stay (or at least until Al Gore invents something better.)
Going online has made some things ridiculously easy compared to what we used to have to do.
To check a definition of a word, or even confirm a spelling, is as simple as a quick search instead of having to page through a dictionary.
We can view our bank balances or credit card charges as fast as we can spend money.
We used to have to wait for the daily newspaper to see how a high school sports team from 30 miles away did last night, hoping the score got called in to make the paper at all. Now we can often find some live reporting of score updates while the game is still being played.
With a few clicks, we can order things and they show up on our doorstep in a couple days.
Life is simple.
Or is it?
The down side of all this convenience is that so many of these online functions require one to set up an online account.
That wasn’t so bad at first, but now hundreds of accounts later, how much is too much?
For each account, of course, you need a password.
Experts recommend that you don’t use the same password for everything, which means that keeping track of one’s passwords becomes a job itself.
(I know, I know there are online services to help with that, too.)
Password requirements have also gotten more demanding upper case letter, lower case letter, a number, a special character (but only certain special characters), and be at least eight or more characters long.
Maybe someday someone will name a kid Joseph8! so he can use his child’s name as a password again.
I get frustrated when my bank makes me change the password every six months. Actually, I appreciate the security of making sure that is done. The part that gets me is when an email comes telling me that the password was changed, when I was just forced to do it!
To prevent hackers from getting into our accounts, there are other protections in place such as security questions.
I would tell the maid of honor from our wedding that we think of her often because she is the answer to one of our security questions.
I’ve found the most important part of security questions is to stick to factual ones.
Please don’t ask me what my favorite something is or was, because next week my answer will probably be different.
The best accounts are the ones that let you pick your own security questions, but again I need to stay with things I either will remember or can look up fairly easily.
Back to my original point: it dawned on me while watching one of our kids trying to find a password for one of his online accounts.
Last I looked, I have maybe 200 accounts in my password spreadsheet. But I only need to make it to Social Security now. He has a few more decades of technology to deal with.
How many passwords will that be to keep track of?
Alternatively, there will be fingerprint or retina scans instead, but that will only encourage criminals to borrow or acquire certain body parts to get into your accounts.
So how far will this go?
Someday will we have password-protected ketchup bottles?
Based on your permission level, you can dispense a certain amount of ketchup in a 24-hour period. That will reduce waste and is good for the environment.