Don’t be afraid of internet cookies. While some confuse cookies with malicious bits of code, otherwise known as viruses or malware, cookies actually save you time because they store information about you that you probably don’t want to enter each time you visit a site, such as log-on information. Cookies are nothing more than text files, too, so they cannot harbour dangerous code.

Looking for a way to monitor your child’s internet use without putting undue strain on yourself?

Consider placing the computer in a high-traffic part of your home and require that your child use the computer only when you’re around. That way, monitoring what your child is doing is just a matter of being there and being observant. Also, be sure you can “pull the plug” on the computer at any time, either by removing the keyboard or the entire computer itself, if a notebook.

Interested in starting your own blog?

You can’t go wrong with Google’s Blogger service (www.blogger.com). To get started, you simply create at account, choose a design and start blogging. You can even try to make money from your blog by integrating Google’s adsense ads. Just remember to tell the world about the blog once it’s up and running.

Copyright issues

Copying and pasting material from a web browser is simple, but it might not be legal. Before you paste some text into your document and claim it as your own, find out whether the material is copyrighted. Chances are, just by appearing on a website and being attributed to an author, it is. To use material legally from the web, you’ll most likely need to provide proper attribution, which means quoting material and providing the proper reference to its location.

Video chatting

You might associate Skype with video chatting, but you can conduct computer-to-computer video calls via most instant messaging programs these days. Microsoft’s Windows Live Messenger, for example, makes chatting by video and voice arguably easier than it is with Skype. Yahoo! Messenger, too, has a video chat feature.

All you need to get started is a microphone-equipped webcam. The chat programs should recognise it automatically.

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