5 Summer Internet Safety Tips for Parents

As a parent, your child’s safety is your top priority — but how often does their safety online cross your mind? It can be easy to forget how dangerous the Web has the potential to be, especially when cybercrime and cyberbullying can be very sneaky business. June is National Internet Safety Month, and with the kids out of school for the summer, there’s never been a better time to review some tips for keeping them safe online as they enjoy their free time for the next few blissful months. We’ve put together five quick tips to help keep you and your kids stay safe online not just for National Internet Safety Month, but all year round.

 

1. Be honest and informative.

First thing’s first: educating your kids about the World Wide Web and the risks that accompany it is a must before allowing them to explore online at all. Think of it like teaching them about drugs and alcohol — make them aware of the dangers they might encounter, how to handle those dangers, and why staying safe online is so important. For example, explain to them that giving away personal information to an unknown source online isn’t smart, or that posting a status about being out of town is dangerous.

 

2. Make ground rules.

To help create a clear and safe online atmosphere for your family, make a set of rules for them to follow. These can include everything from how much time they can spend online, which photos and videos are okay to post, which sites they’re allowed to visit, or which Wi-Fi networks they can use. These rules vary depending on the ages of your children, but starting with a solid foundation of what they should and should not do online is a great start to keeping them safe. You can also print them out and tape them near the computer or in a place where they can see them regularly.

 

3. Supervise. 

Helicopter parenting isn’t everyone’s style, but keeping a close eye on your child’s online activity is key to making sure they’re being safe. Keep your family computer in a common area of your home, and limit your kids’ screen time to no more than two hours a day. Wondering how to supervise without overstepping their privacy? Be sure to create an open and ongoing conversation with them about Internet safety, and make it known that they can always come to you if they’re in trouble.

 

4. Install kid-friendly filtering software. 

Since you can’t keep track of every minute of your kids’ time online, the next best thing you can do is use parental controls to block inappropriate content on your family computer and across all your kids’ devices. Programs like Net Nanny, Web Watcher, and McAfee Safe Eyes are all fantastic options for filtering your kids’ web activity when you’re not around, and even offer controls for mobile devices.

 

5. Stay informed.

Keeping up with what’s trending online is the best way for you to pass along helpful safety information to your children and to continue keeping your entire family safe. Make an effort to read up daily on trending topics and news such as cybercrime, hacking, and tips and tricks for internet safety. Educating yourself is key to setting a great example to your kids and to continue creating a safe and informative environment at home.

 

Following these simple guidelines is a great way to ensure your kids’ summer is spent safely while they enjoy their free time online, and we encourage you to continue a healthy and open conversation about Internet safety all year long. Happy National Internet Safety Month!

Do you have any other Internet safety tips? Let us know in the comments below!

 

 

 

5 Easy Ways to Max Your Hard Drive Space

Avid Usenet users fear the wrath of a maxed-out hard drive.

You: No more file space?! Us: No. MORE file space!

In other words, we’re here to help max your hard drive space as well as your Usenet experience. Ready? Here we go.

Clean all the things hard drive tips

Step 1: Basic maid service

Windows Search Start

You might not realize that surfing the Internet without downloading files is taking up valuable digital real estate, but cleaning it up could make all the difference. Look for a trusted disc clean-up tool (or disk clean-up, depending on your spelling preferences). In fact, your computer may already have a built-in option — try searching within the Start Menu or Control Panel.

You can manually select what type of files to keep or trash, or get as granular as individual file types. Most programs also have recommendation settings.

Step 2: Scoop the poop

CCleaner

Sorry, we couldn’t resist. CCleaner is short for C— Cleaner. Lifehacker recommends it, and it’s life changing. If you are a frequent user or have an older computer, you’ve likely built up a large amount of miscellaneous garbage you don’t really need. Use the Analyzer and then carefully review what CC recommends cleaning up, then select what can stay and what can go and get to work!

Step 3: Remove bugs, worms, and binoculars

Spybot

Malware, adware, spyware, and viruses can take up a large amount of room on your laptop. Programs that constantly run in the background undetected are a problem whether or not they affect your hard drive, so get rid of them!

An anti-virus program is helpful, but you’ll want something all inclusive to pick up some of the trickier programs. We use Spybot, which received 4/5 stars out of 5,000+ reviews on CNET. The self-proclaimed all-in-one tool covers malware and spyware in its free version, though for an extra ~$10/month, you can also try their anti-virus and backup CD creator.

Spybot also provides guides for manual removal of many programs.

Step 4: Give up the bells and whistles

Uninstall iTunes

Sure, it’s nice to know you could play the original Sims desktop version if you wanted to, but do you really need to? It’s time to prioritize your applications. Would you rather have that really, really important work software, or that iTunes catalog of 257,439 songs you don’t listen to, you know, just in case? Choose your battles. If you don’t need it, uninstall it.

If you really think you might need said music, games, etc., in the future, see Step 5.

Step 5: Invest in (digital) therapy

Cloud Storage

We’re not saying to purchase your computer a shrink, although we’re not saying not to either, if you think that would help.

The digital equivalent of an emotional and mental cleansing is an external drive. There’s no reason not to back up your data. It’s insanely easy, free, and smart. While an external drive is usually preferred, there are plenty of cloud-based options for file management, and most of them are free. Think Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, or Best Buy, Amazon, etc., if you prefer a physical box. Your computer will be good as new-ish, for less than the cost of a psych eval.

What other digital cleaning tips would you recommend? Share yours in the comments!

Love our recommendations so much, you want to hear more? Sign up for a free trial of Newshosting Usenet today!

Usenet 101: Newsgroup Basics

Usenet 101Logging in to Usenet for the first time can be overwhelming. With so many newsreader options, over 100,000 discussion groups, and all the features to automate your account, you might be left with more questions than answers. Our Usenet 101 series is dedicated to clearing up the confusion and clearly outlining everything you need to know about Newshosting and Usenet.

Today’s topic: Usenet newsgroup basics.

You can read our first Usenet 101: Usenet for Beginners here.

What is a newsgroup?

A Usenet newsgroup is similar to a message board that can hold anything from discussion groups to shared, user-generated binary files. Newsgroups are generally public for all subscribers, but some are moderated or private altogether.

Though the name is misleading, newsgroups don’t usually discuss news (though they certainly can). Messages within a newsgroup are known as articles, and are accessed using a software client known as a newsreader.

Who can use a newsgroup?

Usenet subscribers worldwide can access newsgroups. If a user can’t find a newsgroup they’re looking for within the hundreds of thousands available, a new newsgroup can be created. Unlike discussion boards, newsgroups are not heavily moderated by admins.

If a user is interested in a particular topic, they can monitor that category’s newsgroup, read previously posted content, and even contribute to the discussion. The best way to get started with your favorite newsgroup is to sign up for a free trial of Newshosting. You can get started by creating a new Newshosting Usenet account here.

How are Usenet newsgroups organized?

Usenet newsgroups are easy to navigate thanks to an organizational system called a hierarchy. Each level of the hierarchy is labeled by a decimal system, for example, soc. would identify social issue discussions, and comp. indicates computer/technology groups.

While there were only 8 original newsgroups, aka the ‘Big 8’, there are now over 100,000+ additional newsgroups in a variety of languages covering almost any topic you could think of. The description after the original newsgroup name provides more information about that particular newsgroup (i.e. alt.business.consulting would be related to…business consulting; rec.animals.wildlife covers, you got it, wildlife animals).

How is information shared in newsgroups?

Newsgroups use a standard called NNTP, or Network News Transfer Protocol. This is how news servers create, read and post articles by an end-user.

There are a variety of 3rd-party newsreaders that can be used to access Usenet. NZB is a common format for accessing and reading Usenet user generated content. NZB files are a quick, easy way to download user generated content. As Usenet messages are typically divided into multiple files with small packets of information in each, an NZB client will download and translate the messages into what is known as a text or binary file. A text file is exactly what it sounds like. A binary file is the combination of characters that your selected client interprets into readable text, audio, a photo or video, depending on the selection.

We’ll get into a more detailed discussion of newsreader clients including NZB downloaders, text readers, and binary posting clients in a future post.

How long can I access a newsgroup with a Newshosting subscription?

Unless a newsgroup is terminated by a moderator or closed for lack of use, it will exist on Usenet indefinitely. The content within the Usenet newsgroup, however, is only stored for a finite amount of time. This is because the servers hosting the information only have a certain amount of space. The amount of time a reader can access files on Usenet is known as retention. It’s important to pick a trusted Usenet provider like Newshosting that provides a large amount of retention (currently 2712 days, or 7.4 years, and counting!).

Important factors to consider

Like any purchase, Usenet users want to ensure they receive a good value for their subscription fee. Here are some other benefits Newshosting offers to keep in mind, and why they’re important:

Data Transfer

The speed and amount of file storage from the Usenet provider’s server to the user’s computer.

  • Depending on which plan you select, Newshosting offers from 50 GB with rollover to unlimited data transfer!

Retention

The amount of time posts are accessible on Usenet.

  • Newshosting currently offers 2712 days of retention, which increases daily!

Encryption

The ability to securely send and receive files.

  • Newshosting provides free 256-bit encryption for all plans!

Speed

How fast files can be transferred from Usenet servers to a user.

  • While speeds will vary for individuals based on their ISP (Internet Service Provider), Newshosting Usenet provides unlimited speed on all plans.

Connections

The number of simultaneous requests that can be made for newsgroup downloads and access.

  • Newshosting provides up to 60 connections per user.

Customer Support

  • If you’re a new Usenet user, odds are a bit of help will be needed to navigate the system. Our support team is available 24/7/365 to assist. We also provide video tutorials and FAQs if you prefer to navigate Usenet solo.

Freebies

  • Not all Usenet providers provide free trials, but we want to make sure you’re happy with our service. Try Newshosting for 14 days or 30 GB for free.
  • In addition to a free trial and 256-bit encryption, our XL Powerpack subscribers have access to a free Easynews account for web browsing, free VPN to securely browse usenet, and unlimited data transfer and speed!

Interested in learning more about Usenet? Submit your questions in the comments section and sign up for a free trial of Newshosting now!