Tag Archives: Software

Integration of United Parents and Chit Chat for Facebook makes Online Collaboration Safer for Students

Today’s post is a guest post from the people at Chit Chat for Facebook. As we are concerned about kid’s online security, this product may be something that you may be interested in taking a closer look at for your family’s use. Although I have not used the product myself, I felt it was important enough to share the information with you in this special featured blog post.

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The makers of Chit Chat for Facebook, an instant messaging application that runs on the desktop and integrates with Facebook, have recognized that the internet has become an important and indispensible tool in the education of youth. Students have immediate access to more information of better quality than at any time in the past thanks to the internet. Additionally, social interaction on the Web allows for the exchange of information and ideas on an unprecedented scale.

Collaboration on homework is as likely to occur online now as it is face to face. Students can not only collaborate with local peers, they can discuss topics with experts, hobbyists, and lay persons from around the globe, bringing expertise to any topic at hand. Of course, with access to information and expertise comes exposure to some unsavory elements as well. To parents, the problem is three-fold because they wish to protect their children while simultaneously encouraging them to explore the world available online and also allowing them their privacy.

The makers of Chit Chat for Facebook understand these concerns and the desire for Facebook parental controls, which is why they have chosen to pair their award-winning Facebook chat application with the best security software offered by United Parents. United Parents Child Protection Service is a leading provider of solutions for parents who want to protect their children online while respecting their privacy.

Chit Chat for Facebook is a desktop program for Windows PCs that provides an enhanced environment for chatting through Facebook. There is actually no need to be connected to Facebook to use Chit Chat because it interacts directly with the Facebook servers. The fact that Chit Chat is a separate application allows for enhanced security features to be enabled that may not otherwise be available through the Facebook user interface. By integrating Chit Chat for Facebook and United Parents, the following child internet safety protections can be offered while still respecting a child’s privacy.

The Child’s Summary Dashboard is the main feature of United Parents and it offers a continuously updated analysis of a child’s online behavior. This includes the times the child is online, demographic information of the people the child is communicating with, and the top subjects discussed. There are no details in this report that would violate the child’s privacy or provide parents details of personal discussions. Rather, the summary is just that, an overview of what is going on that can help parents to identify red flags and then discuss them with their children before any problems arise.

In addition to the Dashboard, United Parents Child Protection Services also offers monthly reports that are sent by email and Alerts that can inform a parent if or when a child gets into trouble online. Probably the most innovative feature offered by United Parents though is Digital Graphology. This can be thought of as an online fingerprint system, which analyzes the grammar, phrases, sentence construction and other behaviors of individuals who are communicating with the child. Because these patterns are unique, United Parents can compare them against a database of known predators and bullies. This means that no matter what the screen name or location, if a digital fingerprint matches that of a known offender, parents can be notified. What makes the system even more innovative is the fact that it updates based on user experience. Thus, the more people who are using the system, the more effective it will be and the more complete the database.

Many parents are concerned about the ramifications of such software on their relationships with their children. Some also worry that it is a violation of trust. However, United Parents has taken great care to address the issue of privacy, which is the reason the makers of Chit Chat for Facebook feel comfortable partnering with them. The key feature of the software is protection, not intrusion. There are two important aspects that must be considered to make an informed decision about United Parents. First, the software is primarily intended to identify threats, not to record or eavesdrop. Its principle intention is to monitor patterns of behavior and flag acts on the part of the child or those they are communicating with that may be dangerous. In many cases, children are not even aware of the potential danger of a situation.

The second aspect of United Parents that needs to be considered is that it leaves control in the hands of parents, who are encouraged to use the software to interact with and better understand their children. Then idea is to alert parents to risks so that open dialogue can occur. In essence, United Parents is looking to bring children and parents closer together.

The industry for Facebook chat applications is awash in options, which makes choosing a particular application somewhat difficult. However, for parents who wish to protect their children while allowing them their freedom, the only real option is Chit Chat for Facebook as it is the only one to pair with an online child protection service. Many parents regulate how and when their children use Facebook. It is, after all, a potential source of bullying and cyberstalking. Facebook software app, Chit Chat for Facebook, aims to give both parents and children peace of mind through partnership with United Parents.

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Outlook 2010 Crashes Constantly – How to Fix

I have recently upgraded my computer to Office 2010 and I really like the programs especially Outlook. However when I set up Outlook 2010 on my laptop that was running Windows 7 I really ran into a crashing problem. When I say crashing problem, I don’t mean every now and then, but rather every time I opened the program and after about 3 seconds of use. With Microsoft pushing Windows 7 and Outlook being a Window 7 compatible product I was stymied as to why.

After much web research and trial and error on how to fix the problem, I found that many, many other people had experienced this same problem. There were prolific postings on forums asking for help and suggestions offered (which I tried nearly all).

Out of exasperation I tried this solution and it worked for me, so I wanted to mention it in a blog so that others may be able to benefit.

First for me the add-ons were not the problem. I still had crashes even after disabling all add-ons. What I found out was that Outlook 2010 wants to install your Outlook.pst file in your My Documents folder by default and really seems to have trouble if when you set up Outlook 2010 you let it find the .pst file in your old application data folder under local and then Microsoft then Outlook
location that Outlook 2007 uses by default. When I created a new .pst file in the My Documents folder, linked it to Outlook 2010 in the account settings I was golden. I have not experienced a crash since. Yes I had to reset up my mail account, import my calendar and contacts from my desktop, but I was finally able to use Outlook.

So if you are pulling your hair out over your Outlook 2010 installation, stop, take a deep breath and either create a new Outlook.pst file in the My Documents folder or move your Outlook.pst file there and you may have your problem fixed too!

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Songs Stuck On Your iPod? Here’s the Solution

My son had his computer hard drive crash and all of his songs in iTunes disappeared. He thought he was saved as he had them all on his iPod, but when he tried to download them to his formatted new hard disk using iTunes he could not.

iTunes will not download music from an iPod back to a PC. Man, he was bummed.  Tons and tons of songs all gone except in his car where he connects his iPod. No more listening to his music at home from his PC.

I checked online for a solution to help him out and found a great one. It is called Pod to PC. On top of a cool application that solved the problem, it is free!

The solution in his case was to install the PodtoPC software on his computer, connect his iPod and the software imported all of his songs found on his iPod down to his PC with one click. The program will even synch songs and can be used to load songs to your iPod. There is even a version for Macs called  Pod To Mac.  The program works within iTunes so you don’t need to have another music archiving system. Why Apple didn’t do this in the first place I don’t know, but the solution, when you need it is elegant – easy to use and free.

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Teaching Your Kids About Piracy

I just found out this weekend that two of my kids had just started to download named star’s music from YouTube.com. They had found music videos and had used YouTube MP3 converter software, which they had downloaded free, to strip the music file from the video; essentially getting music for free. Yikes! Not only is downloading anything from the YouTube.com website a direct violation of YouTube’s terms of service, but it is plain and simple stealing song revenue from the artist.

I took immediate action and removed the software and removed the songs from their music players and computers. As I had a talk about piracy with all four of my kids and the reality of what could happen, some topics came up which I thought I would share as you consider if you should have this same talk with your kids.

1. They all said they did not know this was a violation on YouTube.com. I took time to show all four kids where to find the terms of use in the footer and encouraged them to always take time to read this before they assumed that they could do anything they wanted with the content.

2. One child asked “if is is illegal, why did the software maker create a program that allows people to do something illegal?” Well, that actually is a very good question, and truthfully I don’t know why YouTube and other sites don’t make a real effort to squash this type of free software. My question back to my kids was “just because you can, doesn’t make it right does it?”

I made a deal with my kids that I would help them buy music in a legitimate way and that music piracy keeps our favorite artist from making more music that we will love when we steal music from them. That’s what piracy is, it is stealing and our kids need to know that. For us music piracy simply does not match our family values.

Do you know how your kids are getting their music? If you haven’t asked, it’s time that you did. You may be as surprised as I was to find out that they thought what they were doing was okay.

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Blackboard, A College Student’s Best Friend

Blackboard is a college student’s best friend. If you’re in college and you don’t know what I’m talking about, I feel for you. Blackboard is the best thing to happen in keeping up to date with assignments and grades.

For all of you who don’t know about Blackboard, it is a website which professors can use to post anything they want from class schedule changes, to upcoming assignments you need to prepare for. They also can post your grades online in this secure environment. My teachers only posted grades from my tests and online projects. I loved this feature because I would then communicate with my teacher, if I didn’t do so well. I would ask questions and find out what I needed to work on, and they could help me without ever having to meet up after class.

Another useful feature of Blackboard is that it has integrated email. This is useful if you don’t know your teacher’s school email address.  You can just use Blackboard and they will get the message in their in box. Also you can communicate with all the other students from the class to start study groups or ask questions for peer assistance.

I found Blackboard to be very useful and wished more of my teachers used it because it got a little bit annoying when some teachers would be so kind as to post things online and others did not. So, if you forgot something you could always just check online. But with the old fashioned teachers you don’t have this luxury, you have to go ask them next time you have class, and if it just wasn’t your day perhaps next class is when the assignment was due. Yikes!

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Grand Theft Auto 4, Is It Appropriate For Kids?

Grand Theft Auto 4 is a fun game if you’re the right age. Most parents care if their children are playing games with violence, sex, cursing, and drugs so I feel it is good idea to let people know that Grand Theft Auto 4 has all of these aspects.

These aspects do not occasionally pop up, but are present at all times in the game – they are inescapable. In the game, you are a Russian mobster that has many jobs, from selling drugs to being a hit man. Your player does refuse to use drugs when presented, but he does sell drugs to others. When you are walking the streets you can kill any civilian or steal any car. The game also encourages you to kill police officers.

Grand Theft Auto 4 also allows you to get drunk, fall over, and have all the effects of real drinking including the ability to drive while drunk. As in real life, the effects of drinking impair your driving skills. You automatically swerve and hit people walking on the sidewalks.

I do not feel that video games affect children’s actions adversely although some people may disagree, as when I was a child I would play games with these themes. I never had the impulse to go kill anyone or do drugs. But, I do understand that if a parent feels that a game will influence their child they should know about the game before they buy it or allow it to be played.

I would strongly caution parents to play this game before their children do just to be sure that they know what is going on first.

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