• OWLS

  • Wise words on Privacy

Keep your accounts separate

Key Messages

  • Having different email addresses for different purposes is a useful way to manage your information
  • Use only one account to store the contact details of your friends, and make sure it’s well protected
  • Have a different (strong) password for each account (See "What does a good Password look like")

Illustrating the topic

  • Story:
  • Jacinda uses one email account. All her friends’ email addresses are in her contact list. She loves entering competitions and regularly signs up for online competitions as well as ones she sees at the supermarket, the library and, well, anywhere! Most of these competitions require her email address. She also uses this email address for buying from online shops. This is also her bank email address.

    One day her friends started complaining that they were receiving emails from her telling them to check out a house for sale. Others complained about a link being sent from her with ‘check this out!’ in the subject line and the link took them to an inappropriate website. Yet more friends said an advertising link had been sent to them urging them to buy a ‘timesaving gadget that would change their lives for only $20’.

Discussion Questions

  • Once Jacinda’s friends clicked on the links and realised it wasn’t something Jacinda would have sent them, a cookie is activated on the computer recording places they visit online therefore customising advertisements. Why did this happen?
  • What are possible solutions? (multiple email addresses - one for entering competitions, another for shopping online, one for bank and financial accounts, one for social networking and another to be used solely for corresponding with friends, where the contact list is used. This avoids all accounts being hacked as well as making it easier to spot phishing emails. If an email appears in your shopping account purporting to come from your bank, for example, you'll immediately know it's a fake).
  • What could Jacinda do to fix her mistake and stop it happening in the future?
  • Discuss how to block emails.


  • Create a coat of arms with the shield divided into 4 for accounts they are most likely to use. Eg shopping, emails, friends, competitions and financial. Choose an email provider and a symbol to match each. A possible heading may be ‘Unique me, unique accounts’ when displaying the shields.

Note: Gmail offers the choice of multiple accounts with different names, which makes it a way to compartmentalise emails. https://support.google.com/mail/answer/22370?hl=en

  • Explore students’ email addresses to see how to block. Write up a HOW TO poster for each domain.
  • Interview friends and family and record any stories where things have gone wrong with their accounts. Ask them the questions: “how do you think this happened?, what problems did it cause?, how did it make you feel? What have you done to prevent it happening again?”
  • Write the incident in first person and insert it into a large speech bubble. Paint a picture to go with the speech bubble. (If the interviewee wanted to stay anonymous, draw an outline)