I am part of the last generation to grow up with land-line telephones with cords, antenna television, dial-up internet and DOS-based gaming.
True, all of those things still exist today, but when I was young, most of them were the newest technology.
I remember having to call when I left the house and also when I arrived at my destination, because cell phones were a luxury many could not yet afford. Since that time, almost every kind of tech has advanced.
For those of us that grew up with technology, transitioning from one software or hardware to another has been relatively easy.
But as time goes on, there are more chances for us to cease to evolve with the newest toys.
For me, this is concerning for several reasons, but chief among them is the online safety of those I love.
Scams exist in many forms — calls from the “FBI” that are not legitimate, emails from Nigerian princes who want to give away their fortunes and many more.
So how do we keep our grandparents and parents from becoming the victims of crimes and scams originating from technology?
Remove administrative rights
Create two user accounts on the computer, one for you and one for your loved one — whom I will refer to as “Doreen” for the rest of this column.
Your account should maintain all of the administrative rights, while Doreen’s should have all administrative rights disabled.
That will allow you to control which programs are added or installed onto the computer.
This automatically will cut down on some of the less-than-legitimate programs, which can appear totally legitimate, from being installed on the computer.
Make sure to password-protect your user account, to ensure the computer remains more or less under your supervision.
Antivirus and anti-malware
Install a reputable antivirus, anti-malware or two-in-one software.
Contrary to popular thinking, there is very reliable and free protective software available.
For instance, Malwarebytes provides a two-in-one product that scans for both viruses and malicious software, which is available free of charge.
Try to steer clear of any product that hogs the RAM (random access memory) of a computer.
This could cause the computer system to be sluggish, which will make Doreen think there is something wrong with her computer when there isn’t.
Internet Explorer is one of the worst web browsers to use, especially for a system that could become compromised by scams.
Doreen might not think her computer is susceptible, but Internet Explorer can leave her open to all kinds of intrusions because the program is an intricate part of the operating system.
Try Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox instead. I recommend Firefox because it has a great ad-blocking add-on.
The ad blocker will provide Doreen with fewer opportunities to click on things — such as every pop-up that ever shows up on her computer.
The last part of prevention that I suggest is good remote-access software.
This is especially a good idea if your “Doreen” is quite a distance away from you.
This software will allow you to access her computer without having to be right there with her.
While it isn’t necessarily a good teaching tool, it can allow for quick fixes if Doreen thinks something is wrong or may have been the victim of scams.