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Monitoring Children Games Online Online Tributes Digital File Security Paying Bills Online Online Banking Photo Albums Upgrade Your PC

Protect Children From Digital Disasters

(NAPSI)-With 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 activity.

Expert Opinion
As 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 road."

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 image:

  • Maximize networks. Use online communication and tools to connect with people you know, including teachers, coaches and employers.
  • 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 Unplanned Pregnancy:

  • 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.

Helpful Resources

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 www.iKeepSafe.org/reputation.

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Getting Games Online

(NAPSI)-Finding family fun without losing control of your budget may be more like child's play when you discover an innovative way to play video games.

The Trend
Video 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 Solution
As 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 renting it.

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 Information
You can learn more at the site www.wildgames.com.

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Making Sure They Are Never Forgotten

(NAPSI)-There 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 heroes:

 

  • 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, Tributes.com.

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 www.tributes.com/VictorDuBois.

For more information, visit www.tributes.com.

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Will Your Data Be Safe When It Travels To Denver, Dallas And Dayton?

(NAPSI)-As 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 computer.

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 files.

These technologies can offer you peace of mind and the security you need to effectively grow your business, now and in the future.

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Protect Yourself, Your PC Can Help

(NAPSI)-Protecting 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 identity? Visit www.ebillplace.com/staysafe.

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How To Find A Better Online Bank

(NAPSI)-Americans want more from their banks than simply a place to hold their money.

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 http://www.fdic.gov/bank/individual/online/safe.html.

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: ally.com.

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 would-be savers.

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 capabilities.

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 deposit.

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Save Memories, Time And Money

(NAPSI)-Here's 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 price.

  • 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 meantime.
  • 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

(NAPSI)-If your computer is more than three years old, you may find that a trip on the information superhighway seems more like life in the slow lane.

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?

Experience More

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 performance.

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 more.

A new, more functional computer will allow you to experience this seamlessly, without interruptions.

Live Smartly

Cutting-edge processor technology from companies such as Intel allow you to compute smartly and efficiently.

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 www.intel.com/consumer.

If your PC runs slowly and crashes a lot, it may be time for an upgrade.

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