FAQ

How can I protect my children from Online Pornography?

 

The Internet is an extremely powerful tool. There is no better way available to access a wealth of information quickly and efficiently. Children need to become experienced with this tool to be prepared for the work force in the coming years. With this power comes people who misuse this power. Pornographic web sites will often purchase domain names that seem to be legitimate commercial web addresses ie. www.clothingstores.com and place pornographic material on this site. Even worse, some will use common misspellings of popular sites, i.e. www.whitehouse.com.

From a technology standpoint, the best bet is to use a filtered Internet service, such as Evansville Online’s KidSafe. A filtered Internet service will block out pornography before it ever makes it to your computer. Other options include programs that are installed on your computer which filter the content once it is on your computer (ie. BSafe Online). This option is fine if you are trying to keep a younger child from happening across pornography, but is not as useful at the age where a teen may be willfully seeking out pornography. Remember, your child may know more about the computer than you.

Technology is not enough by itself. To successfully protect your children from the dangers of the Internet, you must take an active role in your child’s Internet use. Pornography is not the only risk that a child encounters on the Internet. Child Predators are also a big risk because of the anonymity of the Internet. Sometimes, adults will pose as children, with the intent of molestation. Chat rooms are very risky for children, if they are not closely supervised. Teach your children to never give out any personal information in a chat room. Parental supervision and involvement are essential to creating a positive and safe environment where your child can learn to utilize an extremely important learning tool.

 

Internet Safety Resources:

Evansville Online Internet Safety
- http://www.evansville.net/kids/safety/

Net Nanny
- http://www.netnanny.com

Bsafe Online
- http://www.bsafehome.com

K9 Web Protection
- http://www1.k9webprotection.com

 

My computer was fast when I bought it, and now it seems slow. Why does this happen?

 

This effect is really a combination of things:

  1. When your computer was new, it was faster than most of the other computers that you may have used at the time. Now, it is slower than the other computers that are around. The computer seems slower, because your frame of reference is different.
  2. As you use your computer, you will often download programs such as realplayer, aol, antivirus software, and other programs that run whenever your computer boots up. These programs usually show up in the system tray by the clock. Each of these programs takes up system resources (memory) while it is running. This will cause your computer to slow down.
  3. As your computer is used, the hard disk drive becomes fragmented, which slows down the amount of time it takes to read a file off the hard drive. This affects the speed at which programs load as well.
  4. You could have spyware. Spyware is a general classification for software that is designed to track the way you use your computer. Spyware usually just tracks your internet browsing habits, and sends you popup ads based on the sites that you regularly visit. Some spyware is much more insidious, and causes you to receive unsolicited emails (SPAM), or even places pornography on your machine. A competent computer professional can assist you in removing the spyware from your computer, and immunizing your computer so that you are less likely to get spyware again in the future.

     

    Resources:

    Spybot
    - http://www.safer-networking.org/

    Ad-Aware
    - http://www.lavasoftusa.com/

 

What can I do to make my computer faster?

 

There are a number of ways you can make your computer faster. These break down into two major categories, software, and hardware.

 

Software Solutions:

These solutions will improve the performance, but will only get it running as fast as it did when you purchased it.

  1. Defragment your hard drive.
  2. Stop any unnecessary programs from loading when your computer boots. *If you are not comfortable doing this on your own, have a professional take care of this for you.

 

Hardware Solutions:

  1. If you would like to increase the speed of your computer, the easiest method is to add RAM (memory) to your computer. Adding RAM can cause a noticeable improvement in the performance of your computer. The type of RAM your computer takes will depend on the age of your computer. RAM prices have dropped significantly in the past few years, making this one of the most easily justified upgrades on most systems.
  2. Replacing your hard drive is another way to increase the performance of your system. *The primary purpose of replacing your hard drive is usually to add storage space. New hard drives are larger, and faster than old hard drives.
  3. If you are looking for more performance than RAM alone can add, you are looking at a major overhaul. To substantially increase the speed of your computer, you will need a new processor. As technology goes, new processors require new motherboards, new RAM, and usually a new video card. This is OK, because all of these other new parts will also improve the performance.

    This kind of upgrade is not always worth it. You will still have some old parts on your computer, and sometimes you are better off just replacing the whole computer.

 

What do I need to do to protect myself from Viruses?

 

There are several actions you should take:

  1. Purchase up-to-date Antivirus Software. My current favorite is Norton Antivirus. New Antivirus programs have better technology for scanning email as it comes in, updating themselves easily, and finding virus like activity, even if the virus has not yet been recorded.
  2. Keep your Antivirus Software current by downloading Virus Profiles and program updates on a Weekly basis. If you do not keep your Antivirus software up to date, it will quickly become useless. New viruses are released on a daily basis. These updates give you protection against new viruses as they are discovered. With the increasing use of the Internet, viruses spread much more quickly. It is not uncommon to come across a virus within two weeks of it being discovered.
  3. Download and install all security patches for your Operating System. If you are using Windows 98 or newer, Microsoft has an update utility available at http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com. Many viruses will exploit holes in windows, and the common windows email software (Outlook, and Outlook Express). Installing these patches will protect you against many of the known security flaws in Windows.
  4. Use common sense when handling incoming email. Do not open any email attachments that you are not expecting. Email attachments ending in: .scr, .bat, .pif, .exe, .com, .js, and .jhtml, are very often viruses. Do not open files with these extensions, unless you are absolutely sure that you know what you are doing.

 

Antivirus Resources:

Symantec Security Response
- http://www.sarc.com

Trend Micro Virus Information
- http://www.antivirus.com/vinfo/

 

What kind of preventative maintenance should I do on my computer?

 

There are a number of things that can be done to keep your computer running smoothly, and to avoid losing your valuable data:

1. Backup your data as often as you can afford to lose it. Regular data backups are essential to protecting your data from hardware failures. Sometimes, computer hardware will fail without notice. If you do not have a backup, you could lose everything.

2. Run a thorough scandisk on your computer monthly. This will notify you if your hard drive is starting to fail. It is much more likely that you data can be saved if you catch a failing hard drive quickly.

3. Defragment your computer monthly. This will help keep your computer running smoothly.

4. Buy a good quality surge suppressor (If you use a modem, get one with telephone line protection). There is a big difference between a power strip and a good surge suppressor. We recommend APC or Belkin surge supressors and uninterruptible power supplies. A good surge suppressor will come with a connected equipment warrantee, which insures that if your computer equipment is damaged by an electrical surge while properly connected to the surge suppressor, they will pay for it up to a specified limit.

 

 

 

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