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Category: Articles for Parents / Educators

Anti Malware: Removing Malicious Software from your Computer

How to Remove Malware From Your Computer

Malware is malicious software that infects your computer in the form of a virus, spyware, Trojan horse, bot, adware or a worm. These nasty infections have different purposes, from getting your computer to preform certain tasks in the background, to sending out spam from your email account, to as bad as stealing your personal information.

Malware may infect your computer when you click on a suspicious email attachment, but it is not restricted to that. Malware also comes via software installations from unsafe sources, as well as when visiting infected websites.

Safe Search Kids endorses MalwareBytes for reasons that separate it from other virus removal tools. Mainly – you do not need to purchase the software to clean your computer of viruses. Full scanning and removal of all types of viruses are permitted within the free trial offered.

If you desire to continue protection of your computer, which includes blocking malicious software (malware) from infecting your computer in the first place, then purchasing MalwareBytes after the free trial is recommended. This also allows you to preform regular scheduled scans as often as you like.

How Computers Become Infected

A personal story about anti-malware software in action: One morning I logged on to my credit card account and saw a Western Union charge for $940. It was made in a city half way across the country. I quickly called my credit card company to report it.

Upon further investigation I was informed that thieves obtained my complete credit card information through one of my computers in the house. This is done when your computer becomes infected by a Trojan Horse (malware) and when you log into an account – in my case it was iTunes – the software is able to obtain your personal information for later use. I downloaded the anti-malware program on to all of our computers and did a scan. I found the virus on one of our laptops.

There are many other ways computers are infected with malware, including spyware and malicious Trojan Horses.  Email is one of the biggest ways this happens.  This is why is always important, that no matter how much you may trust the email that is asking you to log into an account, it’s always best to simply to to your browser and access your account directly.

Malware can also be infecting a computer is when opening attachments that seem harmless enough.  There is where having an Anti-Malware program installed on your computer is vitally important to stop infections from happening in the first place.

Download a Trusted Anti-Malware Software

Obviously, no one wants malware on their computer for any reason. But so many computer users fail to take pro-active action to stop it.  Adding to the problem is that not all anti-virus programs do a thorough job of detecting and removing the viruses.  For one, the virus database may not be up to date.

A bigger issue is that anti-virus programs alone do not necessarily block infections from happening in the first place.  This is why it’s important to have an anti-malware blocker, as well as a program that digs deeper in your computer scan with a top rated malware detector and removal tool.

Anti-Malware – Free Scan and Prevention

Every computer should have some form of anti-virus software installed.  Windows 10 users already have a good security system in place, as long as it is activated.  But anti-virus programs do not have the ability to prevent malware the way a program like MalwareBytes can.  Your computers should also have a premium anti-malware program to regularly  scan, clean and protect your PC from all internet threats: viruses, spyware, trojans, bots, adware and worms.

With anti-malware software, dangers are recognized immediately when they try to run or are being downloaded from the web.  New malware definitions are also updated on a regular basis to ensure all new malware programs are detected with every scan.

Beware of less credible virus removing software that makes you pay before you can remove harmful viruses from your computer. Also, do not install any software from a source you are not sure about. The ironic thing is, you may be downloading malware contained in the very software program promising you malware removal. This is not the case with a trusted program like MalwareBytes.

To see if you are infected by Malware including viruses, spyware, Trojans, bots, adware or worms – Scan and Clean Your Computer for Free!

Malwarebytes for Home | Anti-Malware Premium | Free Trial Download

Additional Internet Security Solutions

While we have mentioned that Anti-Virus Software is not an effective tool against Malware, please don’t misunderstand. Anti-Virus is still important to protect your computer against infections through your incoming email. These programs are not to be confused with Parental Control Software, which allows you to block access to websites that do not have appropriate content for kids and teens… Learn More!

Malware is malicious software that infects your computer in the form of a virus, spyware, Trojan horse, bot, adware or a worm. These nasty infections have different purposes, from getting your computer to preform certain tasks in the background, to sending out spam from your email account, to as bad as stealing your personal information.

Malware may infect your computer when you click on a suspicious email attachment, but it is not restricted to that. Malware also comes via software installations from unsafe sources, as well as when visiting infected websites.

Safe Search Kids endorses MalwareBytes for reasons that separate it from other virus removal tools. Mainly – you do not need to purchase the software to clean your computer of viruses. Full scanning and removal of all types of viruses are permitted within the free trial offered.

If you desire to continue protection of your computer, which includes blocking malicious software (malware) from infecting your computer in the first place, then purchasing MalwareBytes after the free trial is recommended. This also allows you to preform regular scheduled scans as often as you like.

How Computers Become Infected

A personal story about anti-malware software in action: One morning I logged on to my credit card account and saw a Western Union charge for $940. It was made in a city half way across the country. I quickly called my credit card company to report it.

Upon further investigation I was informed that thieves obtained my complete credit card information through one of my computers in the house. This is done when your computer becomes infected by a Trojan Horse (malware) and when you log into an account – in my case it was iTunes – the software is able to obtain your personal information for later use. I downloaded the anti-malware program on to all of our computers and did a scan. I found the virus on one of our laptops.

There are many other ways computers are infected with malware, including spyware and malicious Trojan Horses.  Email is one of the biggest ways this happens.  This is why is always important, that no matter how much you may trust the email that is asking you to log into an account, it’s always best to simply to to your browser and access your account directly.

Malware can also be infecting a computer is when opening attachments that seem harmless enough.  There is where having an Anti-Malware program installed on your computer is vitally important to stop infections from happening in the first place.

Download a Trusted Anti-Malware Software

Obviously, no one wants malware on their computer for any reason. But so many computer users fail to take pro-active action to stop it.  Adding to the problem is that not all anti-virus programs do a thorough job of detecting and removing the viruses.  For one, the virus database may not be up to date.

A bigger issue is that anti-virus programs alone do not necessarily block infections from happening in the first place.  This is why it’s important to have an anti-malware blocker, as well as a program that digs deeper in your computer scan with a top rated malware detector and removal tool.

Anti-Malware – Free Scan and Prevention

Every computer should have some form of anti-virus software installed.  Windows 10 users already have a good security system in place, as long as it is activated.  But anti-virus programs do not have the ability to prevent malware the way a program like MalwareBytes can.  Your computers should also have a premium anti-malware program to regularly  scan, clean and protect your PC from all internet threats: viruses, spyware, trojans, bots, adware and worms.

With anti-malware software, dangers are recognized immediately when they try to run or are being downloaded from the web.  New malware definitions are also updated on a regular basis to ensure all new malware programs are detected with every scan.

Beware of less credible virus removing software that makes you pay before you can remove harmful viruses from your computer. Also, do not install any software from a source you are not sure about. The ironic thing is, you may be downloading malware contained in the very software program promising you malware removal. This is not the case with a trusted program like MalwareBytes.

To see if you are infected by Malware including viruses, spyware, Trojans, bots, adware or worms – Scan and Clean Your Computer for Free!

Malwarebytes for Home | Anti-Malware Premium | Free Trial Download

Additional Internet Security Solutions

While we have mentioned that Anti-Virus Software is not an effective tool against Malware, please don’t misunderstand. Anti-Virus is still important to protect your computer against infections through your incoming email. These programs are not to be confused with Parental Control Software, which allows you to block access to websites that do not have appropriate content for kids and teens… Learn More!

Gen Z Students Are Reshaping College & The Job Economy

College Education for All Races - Gen Z

It’s an interesting time to be a student in America. The action behind asking our children, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” may have more influence than we know. Turns out, Gen Z – those born from 1995 to 2012 – is obsessed with learning. In fact, it’s common for Gen Z students to spend their extra free time on homework and volunteering.

Today, the typical Gen Z student dedicates 6.48 hours per work to homework and 2.66 hours per work to volunteering. Due to a plethora of similar habits, Gen Z is on course to become the most educated and most entrepreneurial generation.

Yet, nearly 9 in 10 Gen Z college grads considered job availability before selecting a major. With unemployment at its lowest since 1969 – three generations before Gen Z’s time – why is our youngest generation alive so curious about their future employability?

To put it lightly, they’re ahead of the game.

Rising student debt has made Gen Z wary, and most want to know they’ll be getting their money’s worth before enrolling into college. Schools are getting involved, as well, encouraging students to take Advanced Planet (AP), dual credit, and the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Program courses and exams. Today, nearly half of Gen Z high school students have already earned college credits.

Don’t fret- students are curious, not worried. 2 in 3 Gen Z students are confident they’ll receive a job offer soon after graduation. For some majors, it’s even higher. Even more, 60% of our youngest generation on the planet impressively plans to start a business one day, and 92% expect to work for less than six employees in their lifetime – Gen Z doesn’t even bother with summer gigs.

Most teens prioritize studying to earn future scholarships over working a job. This is the main way Gen Z is reshaping how we “do” college as a society. Nearly half of American workers are living on less than $18,000 a year, and Gen Z is privy to this, so 82% think college is the way to get there. In the meantime to graduating high school, most are most focused on earning grants and aid.

Interestingly enough, one in three 15-year-olds plan to pursue one of the top 10 most popular occupations, regardless of whether or not their desired career will still be in-demand by the time they’ll be eligible for hire. Gen Z is ahead of its time – it’s all about employment for them. As we witness our very own children reshape the college years, continue to ask them, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

How Gen Z is Reshaping the College Years

It’s an interesting time to be a student in America. The action behind asking our children, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” may have more influence than we know. Turns out, Gen Z – those born from 1995 to 2012 – is obsessed with learning. In fact, it’s common for Gen Z students to spend their extra free time on homework and volunteering.

Today, the typical Gen Z student dedicates 6.48 hours per work to homework and 2.66 hours per work to volunteering. Due to a plethora of similar habits, Gen Z is on course to become the most educated and most entrepreneurial generation.

Yet, nearly 9 in 10 Gen Z college grads considered job availability before selecting a major. With unemployment at its lowest since 1969 – three generations before Gen Z’s time – why is our youngest generation alive so curious about their future employability?

To put it lightly, they’re ahead of the game.

Rising student debt has made Gen Z wary, and most want to know they’ll be getting their money’s worth before enrolling into college. Schools are getting involved, as well, encouraging students to take Advanced Planet (AP), dual credit, and the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Program courses and exams. Today, nearly half of Gen Z high school students have already earned college credits.

Don’t fret- students are curious, not worried. 2 in 3 Gen Z students are confident they’ll receive a job offer soon after graduation. For some majors, it’s even higher. Even more, 60% of our youngest generation on the planet impressively plans to start a business one day, and 92% expect to work for less than six employees in their lifetime – Gen Z doesn’t even bother with summer gigs.

Most teens prioritize studying to earn future scholarships over working a job. This is the main way Gen Z is reshaping how we “do” college as a society. Nearly half of American workers are living on less than $18,000 a year, and Gen Z is privy to this, so 82% think college is the way to get there. In the meantime to graduating high school, most are most focused on earning grants and aid.

Interestingly enough, one in three 15-year-olds plan to pursue one of the top 10 most popular occupations, regardless of whether or not their desired career will still be in-demand by the time they’ll be eligible for hire. Gen Z is ahead of its time – it’s all about employment for them. As we witness our very own children reshape the college years, continue to ask them, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

How Gen Z is Reshaping the College Years

Helping Your Child Discover Their Career

kids choosing their careers after school

It’s customary to ask our kids, “What do you want to be when you grow up,” before they can truly conceptualize what “work” is; however, it’s unequally customary to provide our children with the guidance they need to achieve their adolescent goals.

Take our economical state into account- success is more obtainable after receiving your college degree. As often as we ask our children about their desired future, are we encouraging them to visit their guidance counselor, helping them search for internships, and network? The hiring market is up in the air, but we can still help our kids find their way to a successful future.

If your child is a science, tech, engineering, or math guru, you’ll be happy to know that 8 in 10 of the fastest growing jobs for college graduates are STEM-related.

Don’t fret- there’s also a giant market for students with other skill sets. In fact, 93% of employers agree that having soft skills are more important than completing “majors,” and believe a liberal arts education instills skills to help our children succeed in the workplace. These skills include problem solving, communication, and critical thinking. This is why 4 in 5 employers want hires with a broad knowledge of liberal arts and alternative sciences.

In short, preparing our children for success means preparing them for college. Find what your child is interested in, and career-build from there. Be sure not to wait – 54% of new graduates considered themselves underemployed and struggled to find the right job or internship in 2017. More unfortunately, graduates have faced difficulties finding successful internships from 2014-2018, and steady unemployment/underemployment has only risen from 2000-2018.

Allowing our children to be left behind is not an option. More information on preparing your child for college and career can be found in the infographic below.

College to Career

It’s customary to ask our kids, “What do you want to be when you grow up,” before they can truly conceptualize what “work” is; however, it’s unequally customary to provide our children with the guidance they need to achieve their adolescent goals.

Take our economical state into account- success is more obtainable after receiving your college degree. As often as we ask our children about their desired future, are we encouraging them to visit their guidance counselor, helping them search for internships, and network? The hiring market is up in the air, but we can still help our kids find their way to a successful future.

If your child is a science, tech, engineering, or math guru, you’ll be happy to know that 8 in 10 of the fastest growing jobs for college graduates are STEM-related.

Don’t fret- there’s also a giant market for students with other skill sets. In fact, 93% of employers agree that having soft skills are more important than completing “majors,” and believe a liberal arts education instills skills to help our children succeed in the workplace. These skills include problem solving, communication, and critical thinking. This is why 4 in 5 employers want hires with a broad knowledge of liberal arts and alternative sciences.

In short, preparing our children for success means preparing them for college. Find what your child is interested in, and career-build from there. Be sure not to wait – 54% of new graduates considered themselves underemployed and struggled to find the right job or internship in 2017. More unfortunately, graduates have faced difficulties finding successful internships from 2014-2018, and steady unemployment/underemployment has only risen from 2000-2018.

Allowing our children to be left behind is not an option. More information on preparing your child for college and career can be found in the infographic below.

College to Career

How to Raise Healthy Kids in a Digital Age

Raising Healthy Kids in a Digital World

Parenting has always been a challenge, and it’s only become more complex as children are born into and grow up in the digital age. We don’t understand all the effects of social media, online gaming, and other screen time activities on children, and we continue to receive conflicting information.

Sometimes the kids understand tech better than their parents. And how can parents monitor what their kids are doing in the digital world? There’s a lot to think about, but fundamental truths haven’t changed.

As with any other aspect of life, raising healthy kids in the digital age calls for flexibility, creativity, openness, and leading by example. Create space for a digital presence in your child’s world proactively so you can shape it rather than it taking over. 

Aim for compromise

Screens are ubiquitous. Even if you don’t allow them at home, kids will be exposed to them at school or at friends’ and relatives’ homes. So strive for balance, rather than complete restriction. Decide when you’re ready to let your kid have their own smartphone or tablet, and have some conversations with them ahead of time about what they’ll use it for and how often. Some parents make a contract with their kids. If you do this, check in regularly to see what your child is doing and address any violations to your agreement in a timely manner. If you remember that it’s probably a matter of when, not if, they break one of the rules, you’ll be able to keep a calmer head when that time comes. 

Educate about cyberbullying

No one wants their kid to be bullied, online or off, and what’s more, no parent wants to find out their kid is bullying someone else. Before screens, the rules could be learned in social settings and at school. But with the relative lack of oversight and anonymity digital tools offer, it’s easier for kids (and adults, for that matter) to be mean to each other. Have a direct conversation with your children about what cyberbullying is and how to respond if it happens to them or they witness it. Hint: It’s better to respond and seek resolution in person than online. 

Use video chat

It’s no secret that sitting in front of a screen for hours on end isn’t the best for kids. But do we really know just what the effects of screen time on developing brains are, especially on young children? A review of various studies out there found that there are cognitive costs to too much screen time, but certain uses, such as video chatting with relatives, can be more helpful than harmful. Video chatting allows for a true conversation that includes nonverbal communication and can help support relationships with people who may not live nearby. 

Be a good role model

It’s not just our kids who need a healthy relationship with tech—we do too. The first thing to do if you want your kids to spend less time on screens is to set a good example by putting away your own devices more. Don’t want them to have phones at the dinner table? You better not either. And not only that, but talk with your kids about what you do on the computer and why. Engage them in conversations about the benefits and drawbacks of Instagram or online gaming. Be thoughtful in your own habits of picking up and putting down the phone. Even when you’re not discussing it with your children, they’ll notice what you do. 

Watch media as a family

Sharing media can certainly include movie night, but you might also consider viewing TED Talks or YouTube videos, or listening to podcasts with your kids. Kids use digital tools in their homework and to learn about the world, so encourage that behavior by consuming educational media with them. Here are a few TED Talk suggestions to get you started. By making this an activity you do together, you’ll contribute to family bonding. 

Maintain tech-free zones

Make sure you create time that doesn’t involve screens. The dinner table, an outing to the park, or the drive to/from school are all good options. This goes back to the idea of balance. When you allow kids time to connect with their friends online as well as take them out into nature, for example, they learn to appreciate the various ways they can interact with others. Rather than simply telling them to put down their devices, take them out and show them what the world has to offer.

Respect social media

Much of the concern about digital has to do with how much time kids spend on social media. And while there’s lots of grousing about the risks of social media, we sometimes overlook its benefits. Sites like Instagram and Twitter can help kids stay connected with friends and discover new interests. For LGBTQ kids or others with marginalized identities, digital platforms can offer a way (and sometimes the only way) to find community. Have conversations with your kids about what they’re doing on social media and make sure they understand that what they share online never really goes away. Keep track of who they’re connecting with, so you can find out early if a questionable stranger is interacting with your child. 

Keep the conversation going

Remember that contract mentioned earlier about tech use? Don’t treat it as a set-it-and-forget-it kind of thing, but something you discuss regularly—there’s a better chance of it working that way. In order to not let the digital world distract your child from the physical world, make it part of your regular conversations rather than just bringing it up when something might be going wrong.

Be curious about what your child does on the computer and why. Ask to see the pictures they’re looking at on Instagram. And discuss with your child why everything they see on the Internet isn’t always as it appears. Just as with advertising in the old days, curated online personalities can produce insecurity around not living up to impossible standards. Help your children understand that what they see online isn’t necessarily a reflection of reality.

By Morgen Henderson

Parenting has always been a challenge, and it’s only become more complex as children are born into and grow up in the digital age. We don’t understand all the effects of social media, online gaming, and other screen time activities on children, and we continue to receive conflicting information.

Sometimes the kids understand tech better than their parents. And how can parents monitor what their kids are doing in the digital world? There’s a lot to think about, but fundamental truths haven’t changed.

As with any other aspect of life, raising healthy kids in the digital age calls for flexibility, creativity, openness, and leading by example. Create space for a digital presence in your child’s world proactively so you can shape it rather than it taking over. 

Aim for compromise

Screens are ubiquitous. Even if you don’t allow them at home, kids will be exposed to them at school or at friends’ and relatives’ homes. So strive for balance, rather than complete restriction. Decide when you’re ready to let your kid have their own smartphone or tablet, and have some conversations with them ahead of time about what they’ll use it for and how often. Some parents make a contract with their kids. If you do this, check in regularly to see what your child is doing and address any violations to your agreement in a timely manner. If you remember that it’s probably a matter of when, not if, they break one of the rules, you’ll be able to keep a calmer head when that time comes. 

Educate about cyberbullying

No one wants their kid to be bullied, online or off, and what’s more, no parent wants to find out their kid is bullying someone else. Before screens, the rules could be learned in social settings and at school. But with the relative lack of oversight and anonymity digital tools offer, it’s easier for kids (and adults, for that matter) to be mean to each other. Have a direct conversation with your children about what cyberbullying is and how to respond if it happens to them or they witness it. Hint: It’s better to respond and seek resolution in person than online. 

Use video chat

It’s no secret that sitting in front of a screen for hours on end isn’t the best for kids. But do we really know just what the effects of screen time on developing brains are, especially on young children? A review of various studies out there found that there are cognitive costs to too much screen time, but certain uses, such as video chatting with relatives, can be more helpful than harmful. Video chatting allows for a true conversation that includes nonverbal communication and can help support relationships with people who may not live nearby. 

Be a good role model

It’s not just our kids who need a healthy relationship with tech—we do too. The first thing to do if you want your kids to spend less time on screens is to set a good example by putting away your own devices more. Don’t want them to have phones at the dinner table? You better not either. And not only that, but talk with your kids about what you do on the computer and why. Engage them in conversations about the benefits and drawbacks of Instagram or online gaming. Be thoughtful in your own habits of picking up and putting down the phone. Even when you’re not discussing it with your children, they’ll notice what you do. 

Watch media as a family

Sharing media can certainly include movie night, but you might also consider viewing TED Talks or YouTube videos, or listening to podcasts with your kids. Kids use digital tools in their homework and to learn about the world, so encourage that behavior by consuming educational media with them. Here are a few TED Talk suggestions to get you started. By making this an activity you do together, you’ll contribute to family bonding. 

Maintain tech-free zones

Make sure you create time that doesn’t involve screens. The dinner table, an outing to the park, or the drive to/from school are all good options. This goes back to the idea of balance. When you allow kids time to connect with their friends online as well as take them out into nature, for example, they learn to appreciate the various ways they can interact with others. Rather than simply telling them to put down their devices, take them out and show them what the world has to offer.

Respect social media

Much of the concern about digital has to do with how much time kids spend on social media. And while there’s lots of grousing about the risks of social media, we sometimes overlook its benefits. Sites like Instagram and Twitter can help kids stay connected with friends and discover new interests. For LGBTQ kids or others with marginalized identities, digital platforms can offer a way (and sometimes the only way) to find community. Have conversations with your kids about what they’re doing on social media and make sure they understand that what they share online never really goes away. Keep track of who they’re connecting with, so you can find out early if a questionable stranger is interacting with your child. 

Keep the conversation going

Remember that contract mentioned earlier about tech use? Don’t treat it as a set-it-and-forget-it kind of thing, but something you discuss regularly—there’s a better chance of it working that way. In order to not let the digital world distract your child from the physical world, make it part of your regular conversations rather than just bringing it up when something might be going wrong.

Be curious about what your child does on the computer and why. Ask to see the pictures they’re looking at on Instagram. And discuss with your child why everything they see on the Internet isn’t always as it appears. Just as with advertising in the old days, curated online personalities can produce insecurity around not living up to impossible standards. Help your children understand that what they see online isn’t necessarily a reflection of reality.

By Morgen Henderson

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