Back to School…and not a moment too soon
So there they sit the little couch potatoes…looking so innocent all the while wreaking HAVOC on your laptop while you are away trying to earn a living. It’s no coincidence that summer is among the busiest time of year for the residential side of our business. Thankfully (for you) back-to-school is nearly upon us and life and your computer can start running smoothly again! But not so fast…
While YOUR computer might now be saved from the virus infecting teenager’s 16 hour a day addiction and your keyboard from their Cheetos crumbs…what happens now? Are you purchasing a system for THEM to use for school? Or perhaps they already have one but yours was that much cooler and/or convenient to use during summer break. Well either way, your work is not done until you educate your child and protect their system from their own stupidity (don’t feel bad mine are stupid too) and your pocketbook from future inevitable repair bills.
Our advice? I’ll put this in terms that both our teenagers and we grownups can understand…
1. Protection. Anti-Virus. There is more about protection later but this is so important it deserves a spot on its own. Invest in a good one for your teen (free does not equal good), configure it properly AND make sure to keep it updated for them. Protection doesn’t work unless you use it, use it properly and every time. You know this.
2. Prevention. Websites/Email Spam/Webcams/Remote Access. Anti-Virus software can only get you so far so your teenager will have to use their brains (scary I know). Popular social networking websites, music sites, downloads, emails, etc. contain viruses that can infect even the most shored up system. Tell them not to just click on every random thing they see and to suspect EVERYTHING. Also, teach them not to plug in a flash drive into systems they don’t know REALLY well…they could catch a virus that way and then infect their own system (and then perhaps yours). They should also be aware that the information that they “put out there” can be used against them by not only college recruiters and potential employers but also phishers/hackers who are all too eager to gain access to their system and its contents. Of course you’ve already taught your teen not to take their clothes off in front of the webcam but they should also be aware that a system can be hijacked remotely and controls of that webcam taken over without their knowledge.
3. Maintenance. This not only includes backing up of data, anti-virus, freeing up hard drive space, etc. but also some easy common sense things like making sure they have a heavily padded laptop bag (don’t go cheap it’s not worth it), that they are CAREFUL with it, they don’t leave it lying around unattended in public places like coffee houses (if you can’t trust them invest in a handy laptop lock (these are new handy gadgets), etc., don’t use it as a snack tray or drink too close to it, have a real surge protector every time they plug it in and if they run it off of the battery they should be aware of the life levels and save their data accordingly.
4. What to do when. At the first sign of trouble instruct them to call you (you in turn call your trusted technology advisor or have them call them directly). In the event they hear strange noises coming from the system, spill something on it, lose data, can’t turn it on, and see a bunch of pop-ups or a blue screen. What they do (or don’t do) at the first sign of trouble can greatly impact the life of their system, whether or not data can be restored/saved and the size of your repair bill.
Random DID YOU KNOW? Many stolen passwords used common slang words, adjacent keyboard keys and names presumably important to the user (like family members, boyfriends, etc.). Encourage your teen to use more complex passwords that COMBINE random letters, numbers and punctuation.
Copyright © 2010 Help Me!!® Tech Team, a division of HELP ME!!® Computers, LLC
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