Protect Children From
every post and click, your children are creating a digital
reputation. A positive online reputation can open doors for
educational, scholarship and employment opportunities. A
negative one will have the opposite effect. Often, your digital
reputation is the first impression someone has of you. That's
one reason parents need to communicate with their children about
their digital reputations and to keep checking their Internet
Expert OpinionAs Davina Pruitt-Mentle--director
for Educational Technology Policy, Research and Outreach at the
University of Maryland--says, "As a parent, it's important to
know about digital reputation--for kids to understand their
future in terms of admission to college, internships,
externships and scholarships, whether it be academic or sports.
But more, they need to understand the consequences down the
Forty-three percent of job recruiters eliminate candidates
due to negative content found online. At the same time, only 3
percent of people self-search online for reputation problems.
What To Do
iKeepSafe.org and the American School Counselor Association
have teamed up to provide families with a number of resources
that will help them build an online reputation that is an asset
rather than a liability.
Suggestions for creating a positive online
- Maximize networks. Use online communication and tools to
connect with people you know, including teachers, coaches
- Use e-portfolios to share your creativity and interest
for college admissions and scholarships.
- Share your expertise and passions.
- Share your skills, knowledge, and creativity for
employment and internships.
Too many young people, however, make choices they may regret
later. According to The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and
- Seventy-one percent of teen girls and 67 percent of teen
boys who have sent or posted sexually suggestive content
(known as sexting) say they have
sent it to a boyfriend or girlfriend.
- One in five teens say they've
sexted even though the majority
know it could be a crime.
To help families understand the impact of online reputation
and view a short video portraying the true story of two teens
facing the positive and negative consequences of their digital
reputation, go to
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Getting Games Online
family fun without losing control of your budget may be more
like child's play when you discover an innovative way to play
The TrendVideo games have never been more popular. According to NPD
Group market research, more than 126 million gaming consoles
were sold in 2008. With video games from the top six consoles
costing an average of $60 each, parents may wonder if the price
is out of balance with their budgets, especially when all too
often the game gets played for a few weeks before being
relegated to the shelf where it just gathers dust.
A SolutionAs a result, more and more kids and their parents are moving
their game play from the living room to the PC, where what most
consider consumer-friendly pricing and an almost endless variety
of games make the Web a goldmine of affordable fun. Several
online game sites are taking steps to address the issue of cost
as well as the desire for variety. One such game site offers
kids and parents the ability to rent any of the nearly 1,000 new
online and downloadable games in its catalog using a virtual
currency called WildCoins.
These can be purchased as a $5 gift card at Rite Aid or
directly from the Web site. They're like virtual quarters in an
online arcade. You can use them to try out any game. If you like
it, you can either continue to "rent" the game or purchase it
for a few dollars, less the amount of money already spent on
This kind of pricing and gameplay
flexibility is giving the online gaming sites a leg up on their
living room−console competition from
XBOX, Wii and PlayStation. According
to comScore, a Web traffic
measurement firm, online gaming has increased 27 percent since
2008, and minutes played have increased by nearly 50 percent in
that same period. In fact, online games are growing 10 times
faster than the total Internet population.
More InformationYou can learn more at the site
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Making Sure They Are Never
are many ways to honor the brave men and women who have given
their lives in service of their country.
"It's important to remember and honor those we have loved and
lost," said David Kessler, grief specialist. "Doing so can give
life new meaning for those left behind."
Here are a few ways people have chosen to honor fallen
- Planting trees to improve the environment.
- Donating a bench in a park the veteran loved to visit.
- Donating to a charity close to the veteran's heart.
- Establishing a scholarship fund for deserving students with
similar interests. Even a small amount can help.
- Creating an online tribute to preserve the memories.
Friends and family members can now create specially designed
online military tributes for the veterans they wish to honor on
a popular obituary news site,
A military tribute can list the veteran's service branch
awards, badges, rank, subspecialty and service dates.
There's a place for a biography and career summary, and
photos can be posted in a variety of albums.
For example, a military photo album might include photos that
focus on the person's time in service, while a family album can
display more personal photos.
Visitors to a military tribute built in honor of a fallen
soldier can learn more about your favorite veteran, share a
memory, light a candle for that person or leave a condolence on
his or her memory book.
"Creating a tribute for my father was a collaborative, moving
and emotional experience for me and my entire family. We dug up
his old photos to create the slideshow, added all of the Coast
Guard medals he was so proud of and included all the precious
stories he would share with us about his service when we were
young. It means so much to me that my children and grandchildren
will be able to visit this beautiful tribute and learn about the
wonderful man their grandfather and great-grandfather was," said
Terry DuBois about the military
tribute created for her father, Victor, at
For more information, visit
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Will Your Data Be Safe When
It Travels To Denver, Dallas And Dayton?
the economy slowly recovers, small and midsized businesses (SMBs)
are expected to loosen some existing restraints on travel.
However, when employees travel to destinations such as trade
shows and conferences, their computer data may travel with them,
making it vulnerable to theft and loss. Fortunately, new
technology is helping to ensure that when your data leaves the
office, it doesn't get lost or mugged on the way. To stay safe,
consider these six technologies that can help keep your digital
files secure, wherever your employees take them:
Automatic backup--Hard drives do fail from time to time.
Safeguarding against the inevitable ensures that precious time
and money won't be spent re-creating lost information after a
crash. Some of the most recent operating systems offer the
capability to set up a file backup system.
Encryption--Protect against data loss or outright theft. One
option developed with feedback from SMBs,
Microsoft's latest operating system, Windows 7 Professional, has
an Encrypting File System (EFS) that provides a powerful
encryption technology for files and folders to protect
confidential information such as financial or customer data.
Virtual private networks--Ensure employee access to company
files and systems remotely without the threat of security
breaches. Well-known providers, including McAfee and Microsoft,
regularly update their software with security patches to protect
against new hacker threats.
Anti-virus and anti-spyware protection--Block spyware before
it infiltrates and slows down employee computers. Windows
Defender, a free feature in some of the more recent versions of
Microsoft Windows, helps stop spyware before it infiltrates a
Storing data in the "cloud"-- The buzz phrase "cloud
computing" commonly refers to the practice of "renting" software
applications over the Internet. While the details may be more
complex, SMBs that choose to use a
cloud-based solution--such as a business
productivity online suite (BPOS) that combines e-mail, instant
messaging and collaboration tools--can purchase a subscription
to a set of online applications that streamline communication
and come with comprehensive security built in. By storing data
in the cloud and not on laptops, SMBs
need not be as concerned if a device or machine goes missing.
Password protection for login and individual files--These
enable employees to secure their entire computer, or implement a
more robust security policy by assigning passwords to individual
These technologies can offer you peace of mind and the
security you need to effectively grow your business, now and in
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Protect Yourself, Your PC
your good name could be worth even more than you expect.
According to Javelin Strategy & Research, identify theft and
fraud affected millions of Americans in 2008.
These crimes can cause major headaches for consumers, but
taking a few simple steps with your PC could help keep you safe.
Try these tips:
- Update Computer Software: Install and regularly update
firewall, browser, security, anti-spyware and anti-virus
software on your personal computer.
- Change and Strengthen Passwords: Create new passwords that
combine letters, numbers and symbols.
- Manage Bills Online: Using a secure bill pay Web site, such
as your bank's or credit union's online bill pay service, lets
you replace paper bills with electronic versions, or e-bills.
This reduces the flow of personal information from unsecured
mailboxes, where paper mail can be a target for theft.
Want more tips on how your PC can help you protect your
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How To Find A Better Online
want more from their banks than simply a place to hold their
In fact, 47 percent of Americans have shopped around for a
better place to save their money this year, according to a
recent survey by Ally Bank.
The marketplace offers a seemingly endless number of online
banking options, which has caused confusion for people who are
looking to choose the right online bank for their needs.
Ally Bank, a unit of GMAC Financial Services offering online
savings accounts, money market accounts and certificates of
deposit, has outlined five key features to consider before
making a decision:
1. Protection Goes Beyond Your Money
Before transferring your funds, locate the Federal Deposit
Insurance Corporation (FDIC) logo or the terms Member FDIC or
FDIC Insured on a bank's Web site. This designation ensures that
deposits up to $250,000 (through 2013) are protected from loss
by the U.S. government. Beyond providing insurance, the FDIC
offers security guidelines to keep in mind while browsing
potential online banks.
Recommendations can be found at
2. Interest Rates in Your Best Interest
Look for a bank that offers a range of rate
packages, avoids confusing jargon and
is upfront about its competition. Third-party Web sites such as
Bankrate.com provide a full list of competitive rates, and
Ally Bank provides a rate comparison tool right on its Web site:
In addition, beware of "special," "one-time" or other labels
that could indicate a teaser-rate approach. Check out
requirements for account maintenance before considering a
potential online bank. Banks that have monthly fees, balance
minimums and deposit restrictions can create a headache for
3. Customer Service 24/7
Increased competition means your bank has to work hard for
your money. Some online banks encourage customers to correspond
only by mail or e-mail, whereas others staff their call centers
to be available for extended hours and may even have online chat
Before joining an online bank, check out when and how
customer assistance is offered and choose
an online bank that offers enhanced services to help you manage
your savings. Day and night access to a real person allows you
to bank at any hour, while getting answers to your questions.
4. Banking Wherever You Are
You should be able to reach your accounts from virtually
anywhere. For convenience sake, check that your bank's Web site
is accessible via alternative methods, such as your mobile
phone. To fully benefit from the advantages of e-banking, your
bank's site should be easy to navigate.
Compare the sites of potential online banks and visit the
help areas of each. The ideal online bank should offer
simplicity and ease of use, even if you're not tech savvy.
5. Keep it Simple: Give it to Me Straight
Conditions, terms and legalese can complicate any decision
for consumers. Make sure you understand a product and/or service
and all the conditions prior to making a decision. Fine print
can alter the true value of a savings account or certificate of
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Save Memories, Time And
good news about the economy for a change.
Following a few tips can help you save money and time and
still stick to many of your time-honored traditions without
breaking the bank:
• Save on groceries--According to a survey conducted by the
Promotion Marketing Association Coupon Council, 89 percent of
the overall population uses coupons when shopping for grocery,
household and health care items. In addition to clipping
coupons, peruse sale ads. Also, check for generic brands of
favorite foods--they can cost as little as half the name brand
- Preserve your memories--While the family is all together
for a road trip or cookout, get a head start on your holiday
cards by snapping a photo. Choose a photo-sharing site such as
Snapfish by HP, which lets you store
and share unlimited photos and purchase prints for as low as 9
cents each. It's free to create an account and you can choose
from more than 100 value-priced photo gifts for a unique
housewarming, holiday or "thinking of you" gift.
- Bike or walk--Walk or bike when you can to cut down on how
frequently you use your car. Not only will it save money, but
you'll get some exercise and can enjoy being outside in the
- Cut costs on electric and heating bills--Turn down
air-conditioning and heating units. Draw the shades in the
summer to keep the house cool and add extra blankets to the bed
in the winter to stay warm.
- Out with the old, in with the new--Go through old school
papers to get rid of unnecessary clutter. A great way to
preserve and store the selected pieces is to take a digital
photo of each and create a personalized photo book.
Snapfish by HP offers a variety of
customizable photo books, which are great for sharing with
relatives and friends and make archiving a snap.
You can find more great ways to preserve your memories while
conserving your dollars online at
www.snapfish.com or by calling (800) 634-4500.
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Knowing When It's Time To
Upgrade Your PC
your computer is more than three years old, you may find that a
trip on the information superhighway seems more like life in the
Did you know that more than one-third of PCs in the world are
estimated to be more than three years old and 60 percent are
bulky old-school desktops?
Not only do older computers run slower than newer models,
they're also more likely to freeze up or crash when you run
multiple applications. And in today's busy world, who's got time
to wait for their PC to catch up with the speed of life?
Many new computers offer lightning-fast processing speed, up
to 300 percent faster and with more performance, offering users
the ability to experience everything the new Internet has to
offer and multitask twice as fast. These computers put the world
at your fingertips, and for most people with older-model
computers, they have no idea what they've been missing.
Keep in mind that your older computer was not made for many
of today's most popular sites. For example, YouTube didn't exist
four years ago and Twitter was an unknown word. To take
advantage of what these sites have to offer, you'll want a
machine that can give you a faster experience with better
You may even find that a mobile laptop fits your needs so
that you can access information from anywhere.
Thanks to today's wireless capabilities, you can log on
almost anywhere to stay connected with
Facebook and e-mail, upload and watch videos on YouTube
or catch your favorite television show online.
This is essential because so much of entertainment is online
these days, including Internet TV, high-definition movies and
A new, more functional computer will allow you to experience
this seamlessly, without interruptions.
Cutting-edge processor technology from
companies such as Intel allow you to compute smartly and
You can enjoy more functionality in one device--whether it be
watching movies online, connecting with friends via e-mail or
Skype, or simply getting work done. These energy-efficient
processors also use less power, so you are saving the planet and
saving money with lower electricity bills.
Saving Money, Time
Money may be tight these days, but you don't have to spend a
fortune to get a current device that will answer your technology
needs. Trading in your old, bulky desktop PC for a newer model
can enhance your multitasking skills beyond what seemed possible
just three years ago.
To learn more, visit the Web site at
If your PC runs slowly and crashes a lot, it may be time for
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