How to Create a Safe Email Address or Username
An email address or username is something you use to identify yourself online.
When picking one out, there are many things to consider. What do you want your address to say about you as a person? How much personal information will it reveal about you? What will make it easy to remember? Will some usernames make you more of a target for online predators and spammers?
Sensitive Information in Usernames
A good username is reasonably easy to remember but does not reveal any sensitive information about yourself, such as your full name, address, or phone number. Including part of your name is generally ok, but a username containing too much of your name makes you dangerously easy to look up and obtain information about. You may also consider a creative variation on your name that you will remember, but that others may not recognize.
While sensitive information should generally not be part of young people's usersnames, it is often appropriate and helpful for adults to use their real names in usernames and email addresses. Some people advocate always using real names to avoid anonymity, but there are advantages and disadvantages of using real names. Wikipedia recommends considering your role in the relevant online community as well as the nature of the topics your username will be connected to when considering whether to use your real name.
Bad Examples (for younger people):
[email protected] for a woman named Ashley Elaina Toone
[email protected] for a man named Stephen Kmetszch
[email protected] for a man named Mark McMullin (whose phone number is . . . well, you can guess!)
[email protected] for a woman named Brooke Elizabeth Allred
[email protected] for a woman named Shelby Noelle Ashby
[email protected] for a man named Spencer Eichert
Remember your audience
Consider who will see this email address or username. Something fun, cute, and catchy is ok to use with family and friends, but you may want to choose a classier and more generic username for business interactions.
Better for Personal Interaction:
Better for Business Interaction:
Only use numbers as a last resort. Numbers can be hard for you and others to remember. In fact, email addresses with numbers are looked down on in the business world. They automatically flag your address or username as tacky, juvenile, and uncreative. Try to think of a creative all-letter sequence that possibly uses an underscore or dash.
Keep it clean
Don't make your username suggestive or inappropriate in any way. Doing so makes you a magnet for sexual solicitation and junk mail. Think carefully of how others online might view your username. Especially for minors, it's important not to include your age, and it may be wise to make your gender ambiguous.