How safe is your work computer…from your kids? A constant struggle we work at home moms face is keeping everyone else off your work computer to avoid the pitfalls of unnecessary pop ups and dreaded viruses.
Learn from my story. I allowed my children to play online games on my computer while I ran around the house doing chores. Two weeks later came the big crash. I had 500 Trojan viruses on my computer, it was finished.
Luckily my next door neighbor, an extremely nice and helpful soul, who is also the VP of IT for a national company, offered to fix my laptop. Hearing this, my husband said that we should get the virus protection program, Spyware not only for my laptop but for my son’s computer as well. My neighbor was generous enough to fix my husband’s desktop computer a few months ago and installed Spyware.
Little did I know that my 12 year old son Alex was listening to our conversation. I didn’t see the color drain from my son’s face because I was too busy wringing my hands over our computer having what we affectionately called “the H1N1 pandemic flu.”
While my husband and I are going back and forth about who brought those viruses into the house, Alex spills his guts to my mother about some unapproved sites he and his buddy checked out during a sleepover. He heard the word, “Spyware” and the only thing he could surmise is that installing Spyware meant that we are going to have the capability to not only spy on his Internet activity but actually spy on him while he is in his room.
If only this were true! My mom immediately pulled me aside to dish about what she learned, trying desperately not to pee in her pants from laughing so hard.
This information was too good not to act on. I figured I could use it as a lesson on Internet safety and to keep him and my daughter off of my computer. Of course there was that hilarious element involved too, that I simply couldn’t resist.
Thankfully, my IT neighbor’s sense of humor is just as twisted as mine so we developed a covert mission called “Operation Spyware” to rid the children of using my work computer and make them too paranoid to anything naughty on any other computer at home.
The next day, the neighbor showed up at my house loaded with wires and other useless gear for show, ready to pick up my infected PC and start working on it. While he was standing in my doorway he checked his phone when my son entered the room and said, “Oh yeah…I see…hmmmm,” like a doctor making a terminal diagnosis, while flashing the Blackberry at me. “Alex what happened on the computer?”
Stuttering, Alex said, “Nothing, I didn’t do anything.” The neighbor replied, “According to this instant message I received you were in an illegal site. Your dad’s computer has the Spyware software on it so I get regular text messages when security has been breached. To be extra careful, we’ll install it on your computer and your mom’s so there’s no more crashing.”
Speechless, my son leaves to retreat to his room and, I can imagine, start deleting history on his laptop. Of course the adults had a good laugh but I’m happy to report that my computer is fixed, we have some decent virus protection on all computers and my son hasn’t left Club Penguin in weeks.
Gina Ragusa is a freelance writer and mom from sunny (and sometimes not) South Florida. Her 15 year experience ranges from writing about banking to tattoo parlors.