10 o’clock list: Tech Safety Tips for You and Your Parents

ITUNES WON’T OPEN, HELP ME.

Everyone knows at least one Tech Guy (or Tech Girl). The one who’s “good at computers,” smiles and helps out when your virus-addled laptop spends more time showing you that lovely rainbow pinwheel than actually, you know, computing. As someone who managed to almost entirely replace social interaction with computers through much of elementary, middle, and early high school — you would not believe how rich I was on Neopets in fifth grade — I am that Tech Guy for most of my family and friends. Many of you are probably in the even less comfortable position of being only “okay” with computers, but being the best at them in your family, so you have all problems shunted onto you anyway. Anyone can help their unassuming families defend against malware and viruses, however; it just takes a little teaching, and the dispelling of some common misconceptions. And hey, you might learn some things yourself.

  1. The Internet isn’t a safe place — It’s hard explaining that viruses usually don’t come from mysterious Internet boogeymen, but rather from programs that turn your cursor into a cute kitty, or “GET THE SHOCKING TRUTH (DISCOVERED BY A MOM) BIG PHARMA DOESN’T WANT YOU TO KNOW!!!” popups. Many things about the Internet can be taught, but safe browsing requires intuition. Web of Trust helps, though. Conversely… Continue reading