Graphical Passwords and Young Learners
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Type of Workapplication/pdf
DepartmentDivision of Science, Information Arts, and Technologies
ProgramInteractive Design and Information Architecture
RightsAttribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 United States
This item may be protected under Title 17 of the U.S. Copyright Law. It is made available by the University of Baltimore for non-commercial research and educational purposes.
Computer security is becoming an increasingly important and common part of our daily lives. We cannot use computers safely or securely without effective login systems. This challenge is especially problematic for children. Whether accessing their family computer, a school account, or a game online – children also need secure access to their personal information. Previous studies have shown that children struggle to remember and type textual passwords. This paper outlines a study into graphic passwords. After designing a system for graphical passwords, a study was conducted with 13 children between the ages of six and twelve years old. These students created their own accounts for fictional websites. Each participant created their own usernames, textual, and graphical passwords. After two weeks, participants returned and attempted to recall the usernames and passwords that they created. Results were compared to determine the effectiveness and ease of use for different password methods. This study showed that graphical passwords had a lower success rate and participants were less likely to access their accounts when using graphical passwords. It is not clear if this could be resolved through modifying the system or if the graphical systems are inherently too challenging for children. Whether using graphical or textual passwords, children succeeded with generalities, but struggled with specifics. With textual passwords, they would remember the phrase or word, but could not recall capitalization or numbers that they included. With graphical passwords they remembered the picture they chose but struggled to select the same points accurately and in the correct order. This study shows that graphical passwords are an interesting subject and provide many possibilities for children. They warrant further research, but it seems clear that they do not alleviate all of the difficulties presented by password systems. Other alternative methods may provide similar functionality in a more approachable method.
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