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Parenting with a password manager

authored by:Katherine Bertelsen
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“Mom, what’s my locker combination?”

It was the day after summer break, and I was frazzled trying to figure out how to get all the kids to school and after-school activities. This was yet another thing on my pile—and who knows where the slip of paper we got in orientation ended up! On top of that, my children were less than helpful in keeping things running smoothly, something every parent is very familiar with.

I knew going into parenthood that there’d be a slew of kid-related activities. Sports, playdates, concerts… it’s a lot. But what I wasn’t as prepared for was all of the important—but private—information I’d need as well. Social security numbers. Bank accounts. Locker combinations.

Bitwarden to the rescue.

The Identity item type is an absolute lifesaver. In addition to the ones for me and my partner, I created one for each of my kids. It gave me a secure place to store social security and passport numbers—and then I included scans of their birth certificates and other documents as attachments. That gave me everything I needed for the deluge of doctor’s appointments and school meetings in one place, always available while I was out and about. 

Login items let me store usernames and passwords to log in to college funds and school records. I used Secure Notes with Custom Fields for bank accounts and health insurance information—and, it turns out, locker combinations.

But on top of all that, with our Family plan, I was able to share all of these with my partner. We set up a collection for each kid, giving us convenient access to information as needed—which was more often than we expected! The convenience and organization was super helpful, letting us focus on the important thing: being parents.

Then the kids got older. They started getting their own logins and passwords to school systems, online games, and bank accounts to check their debit card balances. They got phones and computers of their own and wanted to watch streaming services on their own devices, which also meant I could actually use the TV for once! They needed to keep track of things like their locker combinations.

I don’t think you’d be very surprised if I told you that Bitwarden made it all so much easier. 

Collections were the next step. I created one that was shared between me, my partner, and that new account. Most importantly, I only gave it view capabilities, so the child in question couldn’t change any of the passwords or mess things up. But another thing that’s great is that I can control which streaming services or other accounts each child has access to. And since items can be in multiple collections, I can make changes of who has access to what—and updates to passwords go to everyone immediately. “Do chores and I’ll give you the password” just got a whole lot easier!

Collections and folders within the family org help us stay organized and ensure each child has access to the logins they need.
Collections and folders within the family org help us stay organized and ensure each child has access to the logins they need.

My partner and I do still have a separate collection for each child that contains things we’re not ready to share yet, such as bank accounts and social security numbers, but Bitwarden gives us the ability to make those choices and to evolve those decisions as our children get older.

Plus, it’s given me the opportunity to teach my children about security, just like I’ve had to teach them about other life skills like task management, small talk, and cooking. We’ve been able to have conversations about what makes a good password, and the password generator feature has been invaluable in that lesson. Someday, I’ll give them write access and we’ll have more conversations about security and privacy. Then they’ll leave the nest, and I’ll hand over everything, confident in their ability to keep their passwords and other information safe.

So when I was asked where the locker combination was, I just said, “It’s in your Bitwarden vault. Remember how we talked about that?”

“That’s right! Thanks, mom.”

Parenting is hard. I’m glad to have Bitwarden at my side to make it just a little easier, and a lot more secure.

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