Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

Poll Results: How Much Time Online Is “Too Much”.

Let me start out today with a little reminiscing. When I was a young man, long ago, before Pong, and helmet laws, a fella told me a few words of wisdom. He said, “if everyone you meet tells you that you have a tail, then – as impossible as it sounds – you better wake up to the fact that you do have a tail.

I didn’t really get what he was trying to say. I don’t think.

This feels like a subject change, but it’s not: a short while ago I posted a poll, which readers could “vote” on. The poll asked how many hours a day, spent in front of a computer, online, would constitute “too many” — a possible “problem”. (See, Too Much Time Online?)

I included “there is no such thing” as a voting choice.

To save you a click, let me sum up the results. The answer “there is no such thing” (as too many hours online) was the clear “winner” (and had twice as many votes as it’s nearest competitor -> 4 hours). I will also say that not enough people participated in this poll for the numbers to really mean anything. But I found it curious/interesting none the less.

While the poll was open, I refrained from commenting. I will do so now.

First, I was not surprised by this result. And too, in a way, the poll had the same inherent flaw you would have if you asked ” how many beers/day is too many?” and let active drunkards participate. (You would see answers like “650”.)

Yes, IMHO there is – indeed – such a number as “too many hours”. I don’t know what that number might be (and I suspect it varies) but I refer you to my little parable from my youth (above).

If your husband/wife/significant other has told you, more than once, you are spending too much time “playing at the computer”, well, then, dangit, you may very well have a tail.
(If you have been “dumped” because you sat at the ‘puter too much, then there’s no guesswork.. you do have a tail.)

Have you failed to complete homework because that arena match was so wicked awesome it didn’t end until 5:45 a.m.? Like.. more than a few times? And now Teacher wants to see you after school?
You may have a tail.

Do you talk to people you have never actually met more than you do your family (assuming you have one..) ?
Tail.

Is your online activity causing your bank account balance to be too low to meet your month’s obligations? Has this happened before?
Tail!

If people close to you are always complaining  (because they just don’t “get it”) about your ‘puter time, well, my opinion, I think maybe, it’s you who does not “get it”.

.. now, I am not going to start using words like “addiction”. And only you can decide if there’s a problem (and if so, how serious a one). Nor am I going to offer any solutions for you. I am just a repair technician. But I do talk to people. I know a few who say it was the Internet that caused their divorce. And I have heard more than one parent complain about how the kids never look up from their devices…

(I think the measuring stick here is “neglect”.)

I do have two items for you — if this topic interests you at all, that is. (And please note, they use “addiction”, not me..)

* There’s an online addiction assessment test you can take if you have suspicions/concerns about how much time you or a loved one is spending online.

* Internet Addiction and Internet Sex (This is a good read [from my Blogroll].)

*     *     *

No intro needed: Report: Android Malware Growing Exponentially

 “Android devices are being heavily targeted by hackers and malware producers.Read more..

*     *     *

Today’s quote:What you get free costs too much.” ~ Jean Anouilh

Copyright 2007-2012 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


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All we really have, in the end, are our stories.
Make yours great ones. Ones to be proud of.

May 22, 2012 Posted by | Android, computers, Internet, tech | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Don’t Just Read This Article..

Read The “Comments” Too!

Folks, every so often there comes along an article I would like you, Dear Reader, to read. Today’s “quick reading reco” is just such an article — The Facebook Addiction, Is it worth it?

I have come to the conclusion that most people now primarily use their computer, at home (and probably at work), to access Facebook so that they can communicate with their friends and become part of a real-world soap opera. image27

But as my title today suggests, it is not just the article that is worth the read, but the reader reactions as well. To find out why my reco, click here.

October 16, 2010 Posted by | computers, Internet, social networking | , , , , | 4 Comments

Parent of a Pre-teen Son…*

Today I am re-posting an article that I enjoyed writing – a long time ago now, and I hope you will enjoy reading today.

When I first started writing Tech–for Everyone way back on the 8th of June, 2007, I wondered how long I could go before I talked about computer gaming. I think I did fairly well at delaying the inevitable. Two things triggered this post: a client with a pre-teen boy, and my mood. I’ll look at the latter first.

This week I got into a foul mood. I became short-tempered, irritated, antsy. I was definitely ‘out of sorts’. I was not a Happy Camper. Part of this was due to the fact that I had several back-to-back days of too-much-to-do/too-little-time (can anyone relate?). I felt a bit less than “in control”.

I managed to keep up with demands, and my time-spent was successful. I not only kept afloat, but I succeeded. However, this didn’t lighten my mood. Finally, by staying up a little longer than I should, I was able to take a break and play a conquest map of Age of Empires III, The Warchiefs. Amazingly, I was calm, refreshed, and happy. I was a Happy Camper again.

Why? I realized that it had been several days since I had played a game, and I had subconsciously “missed it”, like a smoker during a long flight, or a dieter walking past the bakery. And that once I got my “fix”, I was returned to a normal psychological state. This realization has caused me to wonder if I (me! myself!) wasn’t developing a gaming “addiction”. Wow.

There have been several news stories about computer gaming; ranging from the couple who suffered financial ruin by devoting their lives completely to the online game World of Warcraft (a couple of nut-jobs, if you ask me), to the medical ramifications (carpal-tunnel) of too much controller/mouse/keyboard use … especially in children.

There is a real belief in “gaming addiction”, and there’s a doctor who’s gone so far as publicly stating that as much as 40% of all WoW players are clinically addicted to it. (Read the article) Consider that there’s at least six and-a half ten million people subscribing to WoW, and you realize that that’s a LOT of people … and that’s just one game. It is my belief that these news stories will only increase in number; that as our society becomes more and more of a shut-in society, and more of our interactions take place online, topics along this line will only grow. Google “World of Warcraft+divorce” and you’ll see 747,000 765,000 results. WoW!
If your friends are telling you you’re an addict, please … don’t take it as a compliment. Take a serious look at yourself, before you lose everything.

That said, I do play computer games; and if you’re curious, I like the WW II FPS titles (Call of Duty, Medal of Honor), air combat simulators (Lock On, Il-2, Microsoft), and ‘civilization’ games. And good-old Solitaire. I play a couple of games a day, to “unwind”. I think I’m alright… I haven’t, as yet, spent real money on ‘magic armor’.

The second topic I mentioned was the lady with the pre-teen son. She keeps having “weird pop ups”, and her machine is “always so slow.” I had installed a security suite, and the full gamut of protections onto her machine, and yet she keeps having these issues. She asked me, “why does this keep happening?”

I asked her several questions and looked over her logs and histories. She told me she has a 12 year-old son, and that as soon as he gets home from school he goes straight to the computer to “do homework” … that he spends quit a bit of time on the PC. Well! I was once a 12 year-old boy, and I remember well how much time in the afternoon — freshly released from a day of scholarly confinement — I spent on homework. None. Zero. Nada. (At least, not willingly.)

Sure enough, a look at IE’s browsing history (read how to do this here) did not reveal any instances of National Geographic, The History Explorer, Encyclopedia Britannica, or “math help” (or anything else even vaguely homework-related), but revealed endless explorations of online Flash games, YouTube, and “cheat codes”.

I looked at his download history and found plenty of “demo games”, screensavers, magic swords and shields, and other “bonuses” he’d earned playing his online games. Could one of those ‘magic swords’ (or demo-games) have contained spyware??? Does spyware slow down your machine? Cause pop ups? Well … (duh) YES!

Tip of the day: Here’s the thing most folks fail to fully grasp — when you let your child run under your User Account, he’s running with full administrator privileges and can install programs unrestricted and, when you click on “download this file”, you’re bypassing your protection. (PC’s have to work this way, or you’d never get anything done) You are telling your security programs, “it’s OK. I know what I’m doing.” A 12 year-old boy, caught up in the excitement at having just “triumphed” and earning himself a +2 Sword of Sharpness, probably doesn’t know what he’s doing, and he will click “download your prize now!”
98% of the time, it’s harmless fun. How can you tell which demo game or ‘magic shield’ is safe, and which one’s contain spyware? You can’t. Sorry. Like I said, 98% of them are safe.

If you missed my series on protecting your kids from the Internet, you can learn how to remedy this — creating a Limited User Account, and cranking up IE’s security, etc. — by clicking here.

Related:
* Protecting Our Kids On The Internet: Using Parental Controls
I recently set up parental controls for a seven and a nine year old who are very near and dear to me…

* There’s an online addiction assessment test you can take if you have suspicions/concerns about Internet/gaming addiction.

Today’s free download: K9 Web Protection is free Internet filtering and control solution for the home. K9 puts YOU in control of the Internet so you can protect your kids.

As if being a parent isn’t hard enough…

The Internet has made your job a whole lot tougher. As soon as your child is old enough to get online, you have to safely guide him through a whole new world: the virtual one. How can you encourage your child to explore wonderful new places that stimulate creativity and learning while ensuring he or she doesn’t wander into dangerous territory?

Get FREE continuous protection against malware and inappropriate Web sites. Download K9 Web Protection now.

Orig post: 8/9/07

Copyright 2007-2010 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved. jaanix post to jaanix.


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July 9, 2010 Posted by | computers | , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

A Look At Our Newest Addiction*

In “vacation mode”. This article proved quite popular, and is a topic I believe is worthy of your consideration. Enjoy your weekend.

gaming-addictionTwo recent events have reminded me to ponder the social implications of Internet Addiction– one, the power (once again) went out for a lengthy duration here at T4E Headquarters; and, two, my nephew’s father wanted to take him for his first fishing trip.

At a lake.

Out in the boondocks.

Where there is no Internet.
(Thus, no Swords & Dragons Quest Guild Wars*) My nephew is 12.

We use our computers, and the Internet, for lots of different purposes (see Why We Compute) and some of us, like me, even conduct our businesses online. For us, service interruptions can seem minor inconveniences, or disastrous business events. 12 year-old boys (well, my nephew anyway) use computers and the Internet to play games, and an interruption seems like the END OF THE WORLD.

Dr. Orzack, PhD, a licensed clinical psychologist specializing in the treatment of cyber-addiction, and member of the Harvard Medical School faculty, lists the Symptoms of IA:

1) Having a sense of well-being or euphoria while at the computer
2) Inability to stop the activity
3) Craving more and more time at the computer
4) Neglect of family and friends
5) Feeling empty, depressed, irritable when not at the computer
6) Lying to employers and family about activities
7) A child’s grades fall and the teacher notes that he/she is falling asleep in class

When I lose my Internet service, not only am I unable to assist clients with Remote Sessions, but I experience a good dose of #5 on that list. I joke with friends that I experience Internet “withdrawal” (and I show them my trembling hands). But I am not an addict, not like some of the people who have appeared in the headlines– I have not lost my wife/house/job/friends due to excessive Internet fascination.

And, honestly, I don’t think my nephew is that bad off either.. he did go on the fishing trip and enjoyed it. But I am concerned. I know that these MMORPG’s are designed to be addicting, and that they take hundreds of hours to play enough to “advance” in. I know that my nephew spends far too much time with his online games (like, all his free time).

And.. I know that his behavior (getting home from school and going straight to the computer) is considered “normal” these days.
(And mom can keep an eye on him.. and he’s not out doing risky things like skateboarding, climbing tall trees, riding motorscooters, or running with sharp sticks..)

I am not an expert. I cannot tell you if you, or your child is an Internet Addict. I cannot predict the future, and see how my nephew is “going to turn out”. I can only tell you that Internet Addiction sure appears to be real, and that it is a subject worth consideration.

And, there’s an online addiction assessment test you can take if you have suspicions/concerns.

If you think you are, or your child is, an addict, there is a large community of help available. Enter “Internet Addiction” into a search engine, and start seeking it.

* A game name I made up. Photo courtesy of WiredParentPad

Also, please see Video Game Addiction – True or False? and Detox Centers for Computer and Internet Related Addictions

* Published on: Aug 23, 2008

Copyright 2007-9 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved. post to jaanix

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July 18, 2009 Posted by | computers, Gaming, Internet, kids and the Internet, tech | , , , , | 6 Comments

Computer Gaming and Me.. and a 12 yr-old.

To actually be in “vacation mode”, I must resist the compulsion to hammer out a new article everyday. And so today I am re-posting an article that I enjoyed writing, some time ago, and I hope you will enjoy reading today.

When I first started writing Tech–for Everyone way back on the 8th of June (56 how-to articles ago)[update: today is #741], I wondered how long I could go before I talked about computer gaming. I think I did fairly well at delaying the inevitable. Two things triggered this post: a user with a pre-teen boy, and my mood. I’ll look at the latter first.

This week I got into a foul mood. I became short-tempered, irritated, antsy. I was definitely ‘out of sorts’. I was not a Happy Camper. Part of this was due to the fact that I had several back-to-back days of too-much-to-do/too-little-time (can anyone relate?). I felt a bit less than “in control”.
I managed to keep up with demands, and my time-spent was successful. I not only kept afloat, but I succeeded. However, this didn’t lighten my mood.
Finally, by staying up a little longer than I should, I was able to take a break and play a conquest map of Age of Empires III, The Warchiefs (naturally, I won). Amazingly, I was calm, refreshed, and happy. I was a Happy Camper again.
Why? I realized that it had been several days since I had played a game, and I had subconsciously “missed it”, like a smoker during a long flight, or a dieter walking past the bakery. And that once I got my “fix”, I was returned to a normal psychological state. This realization has caused me to wonder if I (me! myself!) wasn’t developing a gaming “addiction”. Wow.

There have been several news stories about computer gaming; ranging from the couple who suffered financial ruin by devoting their lives completely to the online game World of Warcraft (a couple of nut-jobs, if you ask me), to the medical ramifications (carpal-tunnel) of too much controller/mouse/keyboard use … especially in children.

There is a real belief in “gaming addiction”, and there’s a doctor who’s gone so far as publicly stating that as much as 40% of all WoW players are clinically addicted to it. (Read the article) Consider that there’s at least six and-a half million people subscribing, and you realize that that’s a LOT of people … and that’s just one game. It is my belief that these news stories will only increase in number; that as our society becomes more and more of a shut-in society, and more of our interactions take place online, topics along this line will only grow. Google “World of Warcraft+divorce” and you’ll see 747,000 results. WoW.
If your friends are telling you you’re an addict, please … don’t take it as a compliment. Take a serious look at yourself, before you lose everything.

That said, I do play computer games; and if you’re curious, I like the WW II FPS titles (Call of Duty, Medal of Honor), air combat simulators (Lock On, Il-2, Microsoft), and civilization games. And good-old Solitaire. I play a couple of games a day, to “unwind”. I think I’m alright… I haven’t, as yet, spent real money on ‘magic armor’.

The second topic I mentioned was the lady with the pre-teen son. She keeps having “weird pop ups”, and her machine is “always so slow.” I had installed a security suite, and the full gamut of protections onto her machine, and yet she keeps having these issues. She asked me, “why does this keep happening?”

I asked her several questions and looked over her logs and histories. She told me she has a 12 year-old son, and that as soon as he gets home from school he goes straight to the computer to “do homework” … that he spends quit a bit of time on the PC. Well! I was once a 12 year-old boy, and I remember well how much time in the afternoon — freshly released from scholarly confinement — I spent on homework. None. Zero. Nada. (At least, not willingly.)

Sure enough, a look at IE’s browsing history (read how to do this here) did not reveal any instances of National Geographic, The History Explorer, Encyclopedia Brittanica, or “math help” (or anything else even vaguely homework-related), but revealed endless explorations of Flash games, online games, and “cheat codes”.

I looked at his download history and found plenty of “demo games”, magic swords and shields, and other “bonuses” he’d earned playing his online games. Could one of those ‘magic swords’ (or demo-games) have contained spyware??? Does spyware slow down your machine? Cause pop ups? Well … (duh) YES!

Tip of the day: Here’s the thing most folks fail to fully grasp — when you let your child run under your User Account, he’s running with full administrator privileges and can install programs unrestricted and when you click on “download this file”, you’re bypassing your protection. (It has to be this way, or you’d never get anything done) You are telling your anti-malware apps, “it’s OK. I know what I’m doing.” A 12 year-old boy, caught up in the excitement at having just “triumphed” and earning himself a +2 Sword of Sharpness, probably doesn’t know what he’s doing, and he will click “download your prize now!”
98% of the time, it’s harmless fun. How can you tell which demo game or ‘magic shield’ is safe, and which one’s contain spyware? You can’t. Sorry. Like I said, 98% of them are safe.

If missed my series on protecting your kids from the Internet, you can learn how to remedy this — creating a Limited User Account, and cranking up IE’s security, etc. — by clicking here.

Today’s free link: Today’s free link is a light-weight (small and efficient) 3-D chess game. It will run easily on older machines. You can adjust the difficulty level from Beginner to Club, and improve your game. Pawn 2

Copyright 2007-9 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved. post to jaanix

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July 15, 2009 Posted by | advice, computers, Gaming, Internet | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment