With a new year comes new computers, and that means new security problems. Viruses, spyware, rootkits, hackers--a fresh machine can be susceptible to the most insidious of plots. Lucky for you, here in the CNET Download.com defense bunker, we've devised a list of essential and free top-rated security programs to protect the honor of your computer and ensure that your sanity will last longer than your resolutions.
iParenting Media has become Disney's latest Mouseketeer. The Walt Disney Internet Group announced Tuesday it acquired iParenting Media.
Besides offering content generated by various experts and professional writers, as well as users, iParenting operates a product review site, iParenting Media Awards. That, too, will be integrated into the Disney sites.
And financial terms of the deal? The mouse ain't talking.
Amid continued outcry over the MySpace.com hoax that preceded a teenager's suicide, the town of Dardenne Prairie, Mo., has passed a law banning online harassment.
Although it's only a misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail or a $500 fine, the law is specifically targeted at the kind of online attack that Meier faced in the days prior to her death last year.
"It is our hope that by supporting one of our own in Dardenne Prairie, we can do our part to ensure this type of harassing behavior never happens again, anywhere,&… Read more
I caught CNET Editor at Large Brian Cooley on the CBS Evening News report last night, "The Secret Lives of Teens." In the second installment of this three-parter, which featured a tug-of-war between a daughter and her mother concerned about her risky online behavior, Cooley observed that, "This is just the return of the Cold War, with different players. Instead of the U.S. and Russia, it's Mom and Dad versus Joey and Bill." Cooley talked about parental control technology but added that, "In the end, this points back to the parenting relationship, and it moves away from technology when you really have to make a difference in their lives...you cannot rely on software."
I agree with Cooley's conclusion. Online safety for teens is a complex issue that cannot be covered in one blog post, but the CBS Evening News series gave me a lot of food for thought. They posed the question, is parental spying on teen Internet use an "invasion of privacy or smart parenting?" and I wish the CBS series had given more consideration to the possibility that digital spying is a misguided parenting practice.… Read more
Getting ready for work this morning, I caught a Today Show interview with the parents of Megan Meier, the 13-year-old that I wrote about on Saturday, who committed suicide last year after being taunted on MySpace.
Meier believed she had been chatting on the social network with a boy named Josh. At first, "Josh" sent friendly messages, but after a few weeks, he abruptly turned accusatory and insulting.
It's an unimaginably sad story.
Megan Meier, a 13-year-old girl who has struggled with issues of self-esteem and depression, is greeted on MySpace by an older boy. He strikes up a flirtation with her over a series of weeks. Then, inexplicably, he starts sending accusatory messages, then nasty ones.
Megan, crushed by the turn of events, takes her own life.
Further twisting the tragedy is the fact that the boy wasn't a boy at all. Rather, he was the creation of adults, including the mother of one of Megan's friends, a girl with whom she had a … Read more
This has felt like a heavy week all around, so I wanted to wrap it up with a little levity. My favorite article this week was Michelle Slatalla's New York Times piece, "These Naughty Gifts Don't Clutter a Closet." She put the utter absurdity of Facebook applications into perspective, as she described the various virtual Naughty Gifts that one can send to friends, "thigh-high black platform boots...foil-wrapped condoms, black thongs and cans of something called Mr. Whipped Cream."
You see, in real life I've been talking to mom-friends quite a bit about … Read more
After a recent attack on Power Downloader's home system, Power wanted to find a way to monitor or block usage on his computer while away. Ideally, Power wanted a program that could block usage of certain applications and record usage if a bad guy somehow accessed his system. With the holiday season just around the corner, Power knew that he would probably need to take extra precautions.… Read more
I find myself on the other side of that equation, wondering "Why would I bother joining Facebook?" Fast Company recently discussed Facebook's growth, noting that "60 percent of the site's users are not in college networks, and the fastest-growing demographic is 25 and over." I had to laugh a bit at the broad swath covered by this statistic. Age 25 is a relatively recent college grad who is probably experiencing social networking as part of their peer experience.
As for those of use who are over age 30...well, let's say that no matter how wired we are, we did not exactly make a seamless transition from a yearbook to Facebook. … Read more
No doubt, parenting has changed in the Internet Age, and a new study tries to reflect on how mom and dad are dealing with it.
Proving that parents are tackling new issues, a majority of those surveyed (roughly 400 parents in the United States) said that in the last year they've had an "Internet-related issue" with their child, according to a poll conducted by Harris Interactive for the nonprofits Common Sense Media and Cable in the Classroom (PDF). At least half of the parents reported that their child was exposed to advertising or commercialism online; a third … Read more