This is the only page on this site not targeted toward business use of computers. It's meant for business user's home systems.
On one page on this site I mention that we work with business, not home computers. We do, but many of our business users, appreciative of our hardware and software knowledge, make use of our services and computers at home.
One of the primary reasons we don't solicit the home computer market is because of the damage done to home systems on a regular basis by younger users. Take it for what it's worth but there is a large list of programs that should not be on the computers that the children regularly use. This is a part of that list with some short reasons why.
No file sharing (Peer-to-Peer, P2P) software. Much of the software found on those P2P systems is infected with something you really don't want on your system. Some of my client's home systems have been so cross contaminated, and it has been so difficult to get the kids to stop, they had me isolate the children's system from the rest of the network. Nothing should be downloaded from a site that isn't a respected, known site.
See our Internet Explorer page for some reasons why to use an alternative browser. I have had some clients ask me to hide IE from the users. The result was a dramatic reduction in problems including slowdowns in the system caused by drive-by download malware. In a customer's office in Henry County, Georgia, 26 users never had problems with any of the systems beyond the normal failures of some systems as old as 6 years. We kept the systems maintained and tuned up well except for one system. We had a difficult time with this one system, finding hundreds of infections of adware and malware on that system every 6 months or so. After asking enough questions we found that the user's daughter would use that system on Saturday's when her mother would come to the office. That turned out to be the ONLY system in the office that had IE in use on the system. Every Saturday, like clock-work, it would get infected. The other systems used either Firefox or Mozilla for surfing.
Get the instant messaging, (IM), software off the system if at all possible. Some of that software is constantly being updated. Not as much for the additional features they tout but for the security holes they plugged. Some of the worst worms on the Internet have been designed to latch onto IM streams. IM software is extraordinarily insecure. If you can't stop using it at least make sure you take the time to keep it up-to-date.
If you listen to the news you have heard stories about teenagers who have been lured away by an older person on the Internet. Think chat rooms and chat or IM software. In the whole scheme of things it may not happen to you but it is possible. Even if that doesn't happen, chat software in the hands of a teenager, (unmonitored), can expose you to identity theft. You just never know what someone can be talked into in a chat room if you think they're a friend.
There is also the issue of certain WEB sites that can be dangerous. One that comes to mind and has been in the news a lot is myspace.com
Most, if not all, the places your children might visit on the Internet that should concern you can be controlled with a good firewall appliance that has content controls built-in. These can be purchased for less than $400 and may be well worth it. I'm not talking about firewall software. It's central hardware firewalls that will provide the best protection. And in case you are worried that you will be restricted, those firewalls can exclude your system from the content controls while still providing you with the protection of the firewall.
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