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Keeping Kids Safe Online Is A Family Affair

(NAPSI)-The Web offers many wonderful experiences for young people, so teaching them about Internet safety and providing them with the right "training wheels" is important.

A recent survey by Yahoo! found that parents are taking action to keep their children safe on the Internet, but more frequent action is necessary. The survey found that:

  • 70 percent of parents talk to their children about online safety at least two to three times a year.
  • 45 percent of parents talk to their children about online safety at least once a month.
  • 74 percent of parents are connected to their children's profiles on social networking sites.
  • 71 percent of parents have taken at least one action to manage their children's use of the Internet or cell phones.

Technology is evolving at lightning speed, and kids are among the first to adopt the latest and greatest gadgets and Internet services. It is important for parents to coach their children about online safety and provide them with "training wheels" so they can develop the skills and behaviors needed to stay safer online.

Survey data shows that cyberbullying continues to be a concern for parents. While parents are acutely aware of the potential issues, they are not sure what to do.

  • 81 percent of parents know what cyberbullying is.
  • 37 percent of parents feel that they know what to do about cyberbullying.
  • Almost three-quarters (73 percent) of people want their child's school to play an active role in teaching online safety and citizenship.

Yahoo! Safely offers these tips to help prevent cyberbullying:

  • Own your digital reputation. The Internet is a public space, so before sharing photos or personal details, make sure it's info that you'd share with teachers, colleges or job prospects.
  • Keep your private information under your control. Keeping Internet conversations (and your user names/profiles) free of personal information such as your password, full name or even the name of your school is important.
  • Be nice (and pass it on)! Be respectful online and treat people the way you'd want to be treated. If someone is being disrespectful or bullying you, try to ignore that person and use privacy tools to block that person from viewing your full profile and contacting you.
  • Know your rights. You have the right to not respond to e-mail or other messages that are inappropriate or make you feel uncomfortable. If you get a message that doesn't feel right, show it to a trusted adult and report it to your Internet service provider.
  • Have a family chat. Talking with your parents or guardians doesn't mean giving up your privacy. Everyone benefits when you're on the same page about online activities.

For more information, visit http://safely.yahoo.com.

photo credit: iStockphoto.com

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Nine Tips For Keeping Your Children Safe Online

(NAPSI)-The Internet can open an avenue of knowledge to your children. But just as you wouldn't send them off into the real world with no sense of direction, guiding them along their path in the virtual world is equally necessary. The smart approach to protecting your children from Internet dangers is to teach them how to safely navigate the Web. Here are a few helpful tips from the online safety experts at BitDefender.com:
  1. Parental controls are an important part of staying safe online. They let parents block inappropriate websites and even keep tabs on who their kids are chatting with. So children don't feel like they're being "spied" on, parental controls should be openly discussed with children so that everyone understands exactly how they work to shield kids from Web dangers.
  2. PCs should be placed in an area where an adult can keep an eye on the monitor; for example, in the living room.
  3. When creating accounts for online social communities, such as FacebookŪ, parents should study each site's privacy features and compile lists of trustworthy individuals with whom children are safe to communicate.
  4. Children should never meet online acquaintances in the real world without a parent present.
  5. Teach children to always end conversations they find uncomfortable and how to do so. Should someone on the Web--even a friend--make them feel scared, confused, trapped, offended or threatened, they should find an adult to talk to.
  6. Help children identify e-mails that contain spam or obscene or aggressive messages, and make sure they know to refrain from forwarding these kinds of e-mails or chain messages to friends.
  7. Know the chat lingo; e.g., P911: my parents are coming; PA: parent alert; PAL: parents are listening; TAW: teachers are watching. The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children provides a list of such acronyms.
  8. Children should understand that not everything they see or hear on the Internet is true, and that the information people post/volunteer about themselves is not always trustworthy.
  9. Above all, talk to your children, without judgment, about what they're doing online, who they're meeting, how they're staying safe, and whether you can help with anything.

For more information, visit www.bitdefender.com.

photo credit: iStockphoto

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 Safeguard Files And Combat Digital Overload With Family-Friendly Storage

(NAPSI)-You don't have to worry that your irreplaceable photos might disappear if your computer crashes, or let large files such as photos, videos and music gobble up storage space on your hard drive.

Shared storage, referred to as network attached storage (NAS), a technology once reserved for businesses, is now a simple and affordable way for multiple users in the home to store, share and safeguard documents, music, videos and photos.

Unlike a traditional external hard drive, network storage is a shared resource and can be accessed from anywhere on the home network.

According to a report by Google, one out of every 14 hard drives will fail within a year, and other statistics show that 31 percent of PC users have lost all their files due to events beyond their control. With a network storage device, everyone in the family can easily safeguard important files and retrieve them even if a computer fails. No one has to worry about the video of baby's first steps or an entire music collection disappearing.

Network storage, such as the ShareCenter series offered by D-Link, provides ample capacity for everyone in the home to safely store files and documents in one place. It also lets family members share digital photos and media such as music libraries, photo albums, videos and high-definition movies.

Installing a hard drive in your D-Link network storage unit is easy. Simply pop off the front panel, slide any Serial ATA drive into one of the open bays--whether it is a drive you already have at home or one you just purchased from the store--and you are done. This device also features a new technology, cloud storage services, that lets you back up directly to the Internet.

To help alleviate digital overload, these devices are capable of housing up to two-terabyte hard drives in each bay. Using only a one-terabyte drive, you could store up to an estimated 320,000 digital photos, 16,660 hours of digital music or 250 two-hour DVD-quality movies.

In addition to that, most network storage devices are expandable and have an extra hard drive slot to support your growing storage needs. That extra slot can be used to mirror a copy of the data stored to even further reduce the risk of loss if there is an unexpected hard drive failure.

Want to get to your files even when away from home? No problem. This storage connects to your network rather than a computer so it is easy to access your shared documents or digital media from wherever you are. As long as you're connected to the Internet, they're only a click away. With network storage, your family can always be connected.

For more information, visit www.dlink.com.

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 Defusing A Dangerous Trend

(NAPSI)-Parents can protect their children from a new and potentially dangerous phenomenon: "sexting."

With modern technology, teens have taken flirting to a scary level. "Sexting" combines the words "sex" and "texting" and involves sending sexually explicit messages (texts, photos, videos) via cell phone. What teens may see as innocent, flirtatious photos and messages can lead to social, even legal disaster.

According to a recent study conducted by Interpret Mobile & Technology Group on behalf of LG Mobile Comm. USA, one out of four teens think many people sext and see nothing wrong with it and 33 percent have received nude picture messages.

What Parents Should Know

The vast majority of texts are harmless, but when it comes to sexting, however, many teens don't consider the consequences. A message can be sent instantaneously. Unfortunately, once a text is sent, there is no way to retrieve it. A once-private photo can be seen by millions in a matter of minutes.

Parents should be aware that:

  • Recipients can easily share explicit texts, photos and video so a message can go viral, ending up in multiple cell phones and websites.
  • A photo or video online can easily become a target for child predators.
  • When images on a cell phone involve a teen and some form of nudity, they can be defined by law as child pornography. Some teens have been arrested in relation to sexting.

What Parents Can Do

"In this digital age, where personal boundaries for kids are becoming more blurred and ambiguous, monitoring your child's mobile phone and online behavior is crucial," said Dr. Charles Sophy, child and family psychiatrist and LG Text Ed Advisory Council Member. "Sexting is here to stay and parents need to equip themselves with the tools to be prepared."

You can educate yourself on teen terminology and "text talk" because it truly is like another language. Talk to your children--about everything. Ask if they know about sexting, if they know anyone who does it and if they have ever engaged in it themselves. If they are sexting, create a safe space so they can confide in you about it. Tell them of the dangers involved. Polarizing the issue with blanket judgments that condemn sexting probably won't bring you closer to your child.

Learn More

To learn more about this issue and how to talk to kids about sexting and other ways to combat this negative mobile phone behavior, you can visit an easy-to-use, interactive resource, the LG Text Ed website at www.lgtexted.com.

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 Cellular Phones Are Handy For Vacation
But Users Must Be Careful About Costs

(NAPSI)-The Internet is littered with vacation horror stories of cellular bills gone haywire. While on vacation in Mexico, a man downloaded a popular movie--in this case, "WALL-E"-over his wireless carrier and was billed a whopping $62,000. And that's without popcorn or drinks.

In another example, an American mother received a $3,900 bill for her daughter's international cell phone charges, far above what was expected, while the daughter studied abroad.

Instances like these are part of the reason the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has opened a query with the public on what it calls "bill shock," or the surprise of an unexpectedly enormous cellular bill. However, one wireless company, Consumer Cellular, has taken the matter into its own hands by proactively notifying customers before the fact.

Consumer Cellular offers no-contract cellular plans, enabling customers to change their plans retroactively, as often as they need to. In addition, the company offers a complimentary "Usage Alert" program, whereby customers are notified by either text or e-mail when they reach certain milestones of use each month. This way, customers will be aware when they are approaching the end of their usage plan, enabling them to curtail or change their plan, saving customers from costly overage charges that often lead to sky-high bills.

"Among the most common consumer complaints about wireless providers are required long-term contracts and outrageous monthly bills due to overage fees," said John Marick, CEO of Consumer Cellular. "Consumer Cellular has never had contracts, and now we are offering complimentary Usage Alerts to ensure our customers have a worry-free cell phone experience."

Consumer Cellular has long supported providing affordable, simple wireless solutions to domestic travelers. AARP members receive discounts on accessories as well as a 5 percent discount on monthly service.

Best of all, for those who choose to travel domestically, including Alaska and Hawaii, a Consumer Cellular phone will work just about anywhere you go. Plus, you may upgrade your minutes while on the road without penalty. The company operates its service on one of the country's largest networks, which provides coverage to 98 percent of the households in the United States.

Consumer Cellular does not have long-term contracts or early-termination fees. Affordable rates start at $10 a month and are ideal for individuals who want the safety and convenience of cellular service without paying high rates for unused features. Additionally, a 30-day, risk-free satisfaction guarantee is available to all new customers.

Learn More

You can learn more online at www.consumercellular.com. To learn more about Usage Alerts through Consumer Cellular, visit www.consumercellular.com/Info/UsageAlerts.

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First Responders Better Prepared With New Radio Technology

(NAPSI)-Shortly after the first plane hit the North Tower of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, police on the scene issued an urgent radio call for evacuation of the entire complex.

That order, given on a radio frequency used by one group of officials, was never heard by many other first responders on the scene. Just minutes later, the second plane hit the South Tower.

As noted in "The 9/11 Commission Report," the call to evacuate was "given over WTC channel W," a frequency used by only some of the scene's first responders. As a result, the lifesaving evacuation message went unheard by many--and for some, arrived too late.

Americans learned many lessons from the tragic events of September 11. One national priority, highlighted by the 9/11 Commission, was the need for "interoperable" communications--a single radio that would enable one department, agency or single first responder to communicate with officials using any of the public safety frequency bands.

In response, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) began research, development and deployment of a new technology that would ultimately solve the interoperability problem. State and local government officials around the U.S. are now being introduced to new radio technologies that are the direct result of the lessons learned in New York City.

With new, interoperable, handheld radios, federal, state, local and defense agencies can communicate using a single radio that operates across all public safety bands, including the VHF band used in many rural areas and the critical marine and mutual aid channels used during large-scale incidents and in search and rescue operations.

One company, Maryland-based Thales Communications, was among the first to respond to the DHS requirement. Putting to work the company's experience in the development of software-defined interoperable radios for the U.S. military, Thales engineered the software that makes interoperability possible. The result is known as the Liberty Multiband Land Mobile Radio.

"With 2.2 million first responders in the U.S. operating on a wide range of frequency bands with different modulation schemes, achieving our goal meant we needed to simplify a highly complex problem," said Steve Nichols, a public safety industry expert with Thales Communications. "The answer is software inside a handheld radio that links, in real time, every frequency used by first responders."

Unlike military multiband radios, Liberty is designed to meet stringent public safety specifications but is just as rugged, with a metal case and the ability to survive an underwater submersion of up to two meters. The radio was tested successfully by DHS at the presidential inauguration and has been used during other high-security events including the Super Bowl, World Cup and Academy Awards.

Now, when the county official managing a local emergency needs to communicate the same urgent message to multiple police, fire and rescue departments on the scene, interoperable radios make the task a one-step process.

Skeptics of this new solution have argued that U.S. counties, towns and cities do not have the budgets or people to buy and manage new communications networks or systems. But according to Nichols, achieving interoperability doesn't have to be expensive or complicated.

"The day you get a Liberty radio, you can talk to someone on all channels," said Nichols. "It works right out of the box."

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Online Shoppers Are Sold On Penny Auctions

(NAPSI)-Bargain shopping just got a whole lot easier. Now, online auction sites allow visitors to bid on coveted items for pennies, literally. Whether it's a new laptop or gift cards to a favorite retailer, penny auctions are growing in popularity as both an entertaining and valuable online alternative.

Penny auction bidding is a competitive shopping experience that offers bidders an opportunity to make purchases at deep discounts. Users prepurchase packs of "bids" in various amounts, which function as their pot when bidding. With each bid placed, the auction price increases by only one cent.

One leading penny auction site, BidCactus.com, has already auctioned off more than 90,000 high-ticket items, including a new 40-inch LCD TV, which sold for $4.14, and a $100 Walmart gift card, which sold for 49 cents. Shoppers can even vote on what item they want to see auctioned off next.

The website, the first and only penny auction site to be accredited with the Better Business Bureau, recently passed the AT-101, Attestation Standards, of the American Institute of Certified Public Accounts by Ernst & Young. This distinction gives players the assurance that every bid with BidCactus.com is both fair and honest.

The site runs 24 hours a day, with live customer support available during business hours at (800) BID-8711. For more information, visit www.BidCactus.com.

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Don't Throw Away Your Digital Memories

(NAPSI)-How many photos, music files and video clips are languishing on your cell phone, PDA or digital camera?

Today's tech devices mean we have lots of personal photos and casual videos of life's big and little moments, yet few of us ever use or share them.

In fact, it is estimated that 90 percent of people who have multimedia content on their smartphones don't edit, share or even take it off their devices.

Technology is becoming more powerful every day--and more complicated to use.

Thanks to a new computer software application, saving and sharing those memories is easier than ever.

Nero, a leading software company, is offering the perfect 3-in-1 Multimedia Suite 10 for editing, backup and burning, allowing people to:

  • edit photos and videos;
  • burn and publish content to share with family, friends and colleagues; and
  • back up photos, videos, music and even entire hard drives.

Getting the Most Out Of Your Digital Library

Nero offers the following tips for preserving and maximizing your multimedia content.

Consolidate and organize. Gather all your devices and transfer your video clips, photos and music files to your computer. Save files in easy-to-find folders. Use very specific names.

Back up your files. There's nothing worse than discovering your personal photos, music, videos or documents have been lost or damaged because of a system failure or virus attack. Create multiple backups in different forms--perhaps on both a DVD and an external hard drive, or online storage and a flash drive--so you can recover your files. Nero BackItUp & Burn, one part of the suite, provides one-click backup to multiple devices at once and makes it easy to restore personal data.

Get creative. This is the fun part--make the most of your digital content by creating your own custom videos or slide shows. With today's cutting-edge editing software, like Nero Vision Xtra, another part of the suite, you can create professional-looking presentations with special effects, music and personal touches.

Share. Share your masterpieces with family and friends. Nero Burning ROM, the final part of the suite, lets you drag and drop files to burn and copy CDs, DVDs and even Blu-ray Discs. In addition, you can quickly and easily publish your videos to social media sites, including Facebook, YouTube, MySpace, Flickr and the My Nero community.

To learn more or to try Nero Multimedia Suite 10 for a 15-day free trial, visit www.nero.com.

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