Issuu on Google+

Night at the Boo-seum

The Toy Box

Happy Plates


Dear Parents... Dear Parents, You are holding in your hands the premier issue of Parent Talk Magazine. This resource, created by and for South Louisiana families is designed to provide creative solutions for busy parents. Our motto is “Educate. Support. Grow.” Our goal is to help your family with positive parenting ideas each month. Our calendar will always feature fun, family-friendly events and activities. If you know about any family oriented events planned for the upcoming year, please share with us. We would love to hear about them and add them to our calendar! Just drop me an email at with as much information as you have and we will do the rest. We are very proud of our local advertisers who are responsible for making this local resource available for you. When you shop with them, please pause and thank them for making this magazine possible. This magazine is yours. We ask for your feedback, submissions and ideas. Make sure you like our new Facebook page for additional information, Parent Talk Magazine. We hope you will find this issue as fun and helpful to read as we did when creating it for you.

KARA DOMANGUE Managing Editor


Ben Jones Cody J Blanchard



Kassie Barrancotto Celeste Roberts


PHOTOGRAPHY Crystal Sanderson Brian Waitz


Kara Domangue 985.209.4933


Copyright © 2013. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without the written permission of the publisher. The distribution of this material does not constitute an endorsement or an indictation of support by any school district. Distribution of this magazine does not constitute an endorsement of products or services.


Fathom Media 303 St. Louis Street, Suite 2 Thibodaux, LA 70301

This Month in










Our favorite app, book, & game of the month

Check out these fast & easy recipes for your family

A fun night at the Bayou Country Children’s Museum

What to do with a “free” weekend

Meet Jenny Trahan from Oakshire Elementary

Make paper pumpkins & spooky snow globes

What is Common Core?

Tips on fixing/preventing malware


Is your child experiencing vision problems?


App of the Month:

10monkeys Multiplication

Available on Android(free) & Iphone/Ipad (.99) English and Spanish Languages available Suggested for children ages 5-10. This is an easy to use educational app that teaches multiplication using fun mini games. It has a simple, colorful interface and is interactive, making it more than just a math tool. Kids will like the game play and silly monkeys, while parents will like that their kids are being challenged. This company also offers web learning software starting with basic math then gradually going into more complex concepts and is available to try for free (lite version) at http:// . -Review by

Jasmine Richard, Social Media Librarian

Book of the Month: Fortunately, the Milk By Neil Gaiman (ISBN: 9780062224071) Ages 8-12

An ordinary trip to get milk for breakfast cereal turns into an extraordinary adventure. Green globby aliens, pirates, piranhas, and time travel with Dr. Stegosaurus in a “Floaty-Ball-PersonCarrier” are only a small part of this funny, fast-paced story. Award winning cartoonist Skottie Young’s edgy illustrations add to the whimsy and appeal of this fantastic tale. What happens with the milk? Will it save or destroy the Universe? You’ll have to read the book to find out. Stop by your local Lafourche Library to check it out! -Review by

Kathy Dykes, Cataloging Librarian

Toy of the Month: Infinity Zoob Kits

Suggested for children ages 6-8, these kits are builder toys that come with multiple pieces that fit together in multiple ways, including parts that extend, form joints, rotate, spin, etc. for infinite play and design. There are car kits to build rolling designs with pullback motors or kits for moving animals, robots, models (such as DNDA), and buildings. This toy is great for kids because it can improve motor skills, engage their imaginations, and promote thought with the designs and functionality. The price is not too high either at around $17-$50 per kit depending on the size.

-Review by

Jasmine Richard, Social Media Librarian


happy plates -Katherine Toups, Thibodaux

Fun recipes for the family.

Miniature Pizzas

The recipe below is an easy and healthy meal that the kids will love and can even help make! You can also add turkey pepperoni or chicken for more protein.

INGREDIENTS: 3 standard-sized whole wheat bagels, cut in half Tomato sauce Shredded mozzarella cheese made with skim milk Toppings: diced green pepper, chopped onion, or chopped tomato (whatever you like) Seasonings such as oregano or basil



Preheat the oven to 325 F. Spread tomato sauce on each bagel half and then sprinkle cheese on top. Add your favorite toppings. Put a light sprinkling of seasonings on each half. Put your bagel halves on the baking sheet. Bake in the oven on low heat for about 5 to 8 minutes. You’ll know they’re done when the cheese is bubbly. Let cool for a minute then enjoy your tiny pizzas!

Frozen Yogurt Pops The recipe below is an easy and healthy meal that the kids will love and can even help make! You can also add turkey pepperoni or chicken for more protein.

INGREDIENTS: 1 8-oz. container of your favorite flavor of yogurt

UTENSILS: Small paper cups Wooden popsicle sticks Plastic wrap

DIRECTIONS: Pour yogurt into paper cups. Fill them almost to the top. Stretch a small piece of plastic wrap across the top of each cup. Using the popsicle stick, poke a hole in the plastic wrap. Stand the stick straight up in the center of the cup. Put the cups in the freezer until the yogurt is frozen solid. Remove the plastic wrap, peel away the paper cup, and eat your yogurt pop!


-Celeste Roberts, Houma

Are you and your kids ready for a “spooktacular” family event? On Friday, October 25, from

5:30 PM to 8:30 PM at the Town Center of Acadia Plantation in Thibodaux, dress up in your cutest or coolest—but not frightening!—Halloween costume and enjoy an array of family-friendly games and activities at the Ameriprise Night at the Boo-seum. Christy Naquin, the executive director of the newly opened Bayou Country Children’s Museum, is excited to help families with young children celebrate Halloween for the fifth year in a row. “In our first year, we expected maybe 400 people to show up,” Christy recalls. “We ended up having close to 2,000! We were overwhelmed but pleasantly surprised. Now we’re more prepared. We branch out farther and farther each year to accommodate everyone. Last year, we had about 5,000 people attend. People start calling the museum in August, asking if we’re having the event again. It’s a testament to how many people really want a family Halloween event.” At a Night at the Boo-seum, families can sing karaoke together; little ones can jump around in bounce houses; kids can scale the rock-climbing wall; curious attendees can work their way through a maze; the truly adventurous can visit the Slime Station for some gooey and messy amusement; and children can play different games. Kids also can walk around from booth to booth and trick-or-treat, and the Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s office will have a safety I.D. program. The Bayou Country Children’s museum will provide a few of their pieces, like the


combine harvester, to show kids how sugar cane and crops are gathered. John Deere of Thibodaux will bring its sugar cane equipment, and the Thibodaux Volunteer Fire Department will bring its fire engines and allow kids to explore them. The entire area will be barricaded, and the Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Department and Thibodaux Police will provide deputies and police officers who will ensure that everyone stays safe.

(Not-So) Frightening Facts About Halloween If you spot a spider on Halloween, don’t be scared! That just means a loved one is watching over you.

Black and orange are Halloween’s traditional colors. Black symbolizes darkness, and orange reminds us of the harvest. After Christmas, Halloween is the next commercially successful holiday of the year. Looks like everyone enjoys candy and costumes! Does Halloween give you the shivers? You might have samhainophobia, “the fear of Halloween.”

exploration, discovery and creativity” (www. The museum anticipates over 45,000 visitors each year from the eight parishes that surround it. The museum needs a little extra help that extends beyond its admissions fees and membership dues. “Our children’s museum admissions are not sustainable,” Christy explains. “We need other events. All proceeds from A Night at the Boo-seum go to the museum. This is an educational homage to our agriculture and lifestyle.” Of course, you may also contribute fully tax-deductible donations to the museum. To reserve your tickets up to one day before the event for $5 a person, call the museum at 985-446-2200 and visit it at 211 Rue Betancourt in Thibodaux. The museum’s hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM and Sunday from noon to 4:00 PM (closed on Monday). You can check out more information about the museum itself and A Night at the Boo-seum at Tickets will be $7 per person at the gate. If you would like your little ones to enjoy their Halloween costumes more than one time while spending an evening with the community, head over to A Night at the Boo-seum and enjoy the treats—without any tricks! pt

Roman Catholics honor saints on November 1 (All Saints’ Day) and their deceased loved ones November 2 (All Souls’ Day). Samhain is an ancient Celtic holiday that means “the end of summer.” The Celts wore costumes and masks to trick spirits and ghosts that came out on Halloween night. All games and activities except face painting are included in the admission price, and foods like jambalaya, hot dogs, hamburgers, and other snacks and beverages will be available for sale. Since this is primarily a children’s event, no alcohol will be sold. The Bayou Country Children’s Museum had its grand opening on September 28. The regional museum aims to preserve and promote our Cajun culture by showing visiting children agricultural equipment, an Estuary Water Table, a Steel-Legged Reef, an alligator Mardi Gras float, the Farmer’s Market grocery store, a sugar cane maze, and many other engaging and educational exhibits. According to its Website, “Louisiana culture comes to life in the new Bayou Country Children’s Museum. For children, play is a critical way to find out about new things. The ability to play is instrumental in scientific


Diary of a Dad A “Free" Weekend


-Robbie Bower, Thibodaux

:00AM – Caroline to soccer on field one. 8:15 AM – Camille to soccer on field two. 8:45 AM – Tom to soccer on Field 3. Don’t forget the Gatorade, extra socks, sunscreen and that Judy has to change into a cheerleader outfit for an eight-year-old’s birthday party at a gym in another town for 10:20 AM. Am I the only dad whose Saturday morning routine (as written down precisely by my lovely wife) looks a little like a horrible Monday morning rush hour extravaganza? I think not. That is why I was pleasantly surprised when Tropical Storm Karen decided to not attack us here in South Louisiana after all twenty-five plus scheduled events for my three children were cancelled due to the impending disaster! Don’t get me wrong, I love a good soccer match between six-year-old boys, but four weeks into the season even I was doing a little rain dance. Imagine that. Waking up on a Saturday morning to find that I can create any agenda in the forty-eight hours that remain before the school bell rings on Monday morning. Hhmmm….For those of you who know me, this could be a dangerous moment. Do I take my children to Chucky Cheese in Houma that all of the parents are showing pictures of their children enjoying on Facebook? Do I take my lovely wife to Petco for the dog adoption event to replace our beloved Pug (RIP Buddy)? Do I lay on the sofa in my underwear watching hours of football while the kids lose themselves in mind-numbing video games? It turns out that there are some really cool new ways to spend downtime (rainy or not) in our little community. After catching a movie, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs II, in Houma (which allowed me two hours of uninterrupted popcorn eating and covert Facebook surfing/texting/checking emails), we decided to try out Sarah’s Mediterranean Restaurant. To make it a little more adventurous, we refused to let the kids order off of the traditional chicken-nugget, laden kids’ menu! It is a risk, of course, that they will rebel, screaming wildly at the taste of unusual cuisine and flavors wrapped in sensory stimulating leaves and hummus. I held my breath until the food arrived - one moment short of bolting for the car in anticipation of the uproar. It never happened! I was impressed at how they were open to new ideas and even tried some things that I wouldn’t have eaten until adulthood. My own children were surprising me with their little adventurous palates and their open minds. Who would have thought? After lunch, we learned that the Petco adoption event had been cancelled due to the storm. We were immediately given a list of several in-home shelter networks in addition to the local animal shelters and the name of a place called My Heart’s Desire, which was also closed due to the storm. Who knew that there were so many needy animals here on the bayous and so many people taking their time to match them with


owners? Suddenly, my “need” for a purebred, genetically engineered, fluffy ball of watchdog yappiness was taking a huge back seat to the need of helping any innocent animal seen on the side of the road! The lack of immediate gratification energized me to search Petfinder for nearly four hours looking for anywhere that would hand us a dog in five minutes. I waited anxiously as all of the rescue adoption applications that I filled out and sent into the cloud-based atmosphere were vetted and critiqued to allow me to become a parent to a lost baby. We capped off Saturday night by watching Grease with the kiddos. You truly don’t realize how inappropriate some movies are till your kids are present. I chuckled as phrases elicited giggling from the girls if we attempted to fast forward past them but were totally lost and ignored if we didn’t bring attention to them. Is it possible that we are trying too hard as parents and as a society to insulate our children from everything that could potentially be deleterious these days? The ending of the weekend was spent at a scouting event at the new Bayou Country Children’s’ Museum (my wife and the kids, that is. Me, I chose the underwear-clad, Saints option). This gave me my much needed manrecuperation time from this deep, reflection-inducing weekend. Could it be that it takes a tropical storm to actually throw us off course enough to re-think how we spend time with our children and how we parent in general? What we consider a necessity and what is actually right? Thanks Karen, for sparing us and for giving us the gift of unplanned adventures and moments together to reflect on where this little road called life is leading us. pt

“Imagine that. Waking up on a Saturday morning to fInd that I can create any agenda in the fortyeight hours that remain before the school bell rings on Monday morning.”

What’s Up, Doc?

Is My Child Experiencing Vision Problems?


t has been estimated that as much as 80% of the learning a child does occurs through his or her eyes. If a child’s vision is not functioning properly, education and participation in sports can suffer. Many parents ask me what they need to look out for to determine whether or not their child is experiencing any vision problems. Depending on the child’s age, there are a number of red flags. One of the most obvious problems seen in early childhood is a lazy eye, called strabismus. Lazy eye can occur when the eye muscles aren’t functioning properly in one or both eyes, causing the eyes to turn outwards or inwards when they are supposed to be straight ahead. If you notice any abnormal eye movements it is important to get a full comprehensive eye exam for that child to determine if there is any underlying cause. Sometimes, the misalignment of the eyes can be corrected simply with a pair of glasses, but other instances require surgical correction. Another red flag is if your child is complaining of blurred vision at school. If they are having trouble seeing the board, they could have nearsightedness, or myopia. Conversely, if they complain of having problems with up close work, they may have farsightedness, or hyperopia. Hyperopia can also cause kids’ eyes to get tired after reading for a long period of time, or they could be experiencing some accommodative issues. Accommodation is the eye’s ability to focus up close. Most children have a very large amount of focusing ability which naturally decreases a small amount each year past age sixteen. Some children, however, have less focusing ability than normal for their age, causing eyestrain or headache. Headaches, especially with an onset after a school day or after long periods of reading or computer work, can be an indication of vision problems. There are a number of causes of headaches, and they are among the most difficult symptoms to diagnose and treat. Some children can get headaches or eyestrain if they need glasses and don’t have them. They are forced to focus through this hidden prescription all day, causing fatigue. Trouble focusing can be another culprit. Normal focusing ability has become more important due to increased amount of smart phone, tablet, and computer work. Pediatricians often refer children to my office to rule out ocular causes of headaches.

-Dr. Laura Buisson, Thibodaux

These are some of the most common signs and symptoms I see for children who need vision correction; however, there is a large percentage of children who greatly need help with vision who never receive it. Most young children never complain of blurred vision even if they need glasses. In fact, there are many children who can pass vision screenings yet still have ocular issues. A comprehensive eye examination provided by a Doctor of Optometry, unlike a vision screening, is designed to consistently identify and provide follow-up care assurances for every eye health or vision issue that can impact a child’s overall development and achievement. The American Optometric Association recommends a child receive a comprehensive eye exam within the first year of life and at regular intervals thereafter. Due to the national healthcare overhaul scheduled to take place in 2014, there is now a children’s vision benefit as part of the Affordable Care Act. One positive change that will help children is the recognition that regular comprehensive eye exams during childhood are essential to ensuring visual health and readiness for school. Optometric care for children is now deemed essential and will be included in the new health insurance coverage. For more information about eye health, the importance of regular comprehensive eye exams, or to use the AOA Doctor Locator to connect with a Doctor of Optometry serving your community, visit pt

Common Symptoms • • • • • • • • • •

Complaints of not being able to see the board Headaches at the end of a school day Abnormal eye turning or movements Complaints that their eyes are tired Holding their paper too close Tilting the head to one side Losing place when reading Frequent eye rubbing Squinting frequently Covering one eye


Teacher Feature -Kassie barrancotto, Vacherie Jenny Trahan Oakshire Elementary School


enny Trahan is a 6th Grade Math Teacher at Oakshire Elementary School in Houma, Louisiana. She was born and raised in Houma and lived there her whole life. She loves her hometown dearly but it is a dream of hers to live in multiple states and to experience different cultures and climates. She loves to travel…almost as much as she loves to teach!


Jenny attended Mulberry Elementary School, then Houma Junior High School, and graduated from Terrebonne High School in 1997. She then went on to Nicholls State University where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Business in 2001. Upon graduation, Jenny worked for Gulf Island Fabrication in their Quality Control Department and then managed the Operations Department of Best Buy in Houma. In 2008 she completed her Alternative Teach Certification. “At Nicholls State, my original career choice was business” Jenny explains, “ Ironically, my freshman year of college, my math professor urged me to switch my major to mathematics. I said, “What would I do with a mathematics degree?” He said, “TEACH.” I guess he saw something in me that I had yet to see in myself. But at the time, I was driven by money, and it’s no secret that you can’t get rich teaching. So I continued my degree in business, but soon realized that being cooped up in an office where computers don’t talk back was not for me. Best Buy was opening in Houma and I joined the team. It is a beautiful company, and I learned so much working with the company. I made twice the money managing Best Buy than I do now as a teacher. It was a hard decision for me to leave this beautiful company, but I lacked passion in my work. My favorite part of my job was always training and inspiring the young employees and other managers. Once again I found teaching tugging at my heart. This is when I realized I needed to pursue my passion, and it was the best decision I have ever made. I love teaching. There is no other job more rewarding than this. It’s not an easy job, and most people don’t realize what goes into it unless you live with an educator. Many think we work five days a week 8:00 AM – 3:00 PM and off every weekend and holiday. When in reality, an effective teacher is working seven days a week and most often sacrificing their own family time to better others.” Jenny has three sisters and three adorable nephews ages three, four, and five. Her family has a rich history of educators. Her mother served twenty-eight years as an elementary teacher in Terrebonne Parish and recently retired at the end of the last school year. Her aunt served as an elementary teacher in Terrebonne Parish and currently works as a

Reading Specialist for the parish. Her grandfather retired as Superintendent of Terrebonne Parish in 1981 and her grandmother retired as Supervisor of Special Education. No wonder her passion is teaching…it is in her blood. Some of Jenny’s favorite things are relaxing by a pool or beach with friends or family, a good seafood boil, and she treasures all holidays when she gets to spend time with her nephews and sisters. In addition to spending time with her family, Jenny loves to spend time with her “baby”- a four pound poodle named Brie. Her and Brie love watching football. “I love pro football,” says Jenny, “ I enjoy watching any pro game, but I am a Saints fan through and through. It’s always a good Sunday when I can watch a Saints game with family and friends. Jimmy Graham is my favorite player. His story of overcoming his own personal challenges inspires me and my own character.”

The whole application process was quite intense:

She wrote five essays She had an in-person observation of lessons conducted by a member of the Louisiana State Board of Education She submitted a portfolio of student work and data showing student growth Jenny created a video submission of a lesson and plans for a unit She also took place in a “mock press conference” in Baton Rouge Throughout her tenure at Oakshire, Jenny has served on the school’s PBIS (Positive Behavior Intervention Support) committee, yearbook, and hospitality committee. She is a member of APEL (Associated Professional Educators of Louisiana) and in the local community, she is a member of Cleopatra Carnival Crew and rides alongside with many of her coworkers/friends of Oakshire. Jenny is in her sixth year of teaching. All of her years of service have been at Oakshire Elementary School. She taught second grade for half a year and third grade math, science, and social studies for four years. Last school year 2012-2013, she switched to sixth grade math, and she is teaching sixth grade math again this year. “To teach math all day has been a dream of mine since I entered the profession,” says Jenny. “My absolute favorite thing is when former students come back to visit me. They were “my kids” for a year. It’s nice to see them and check in on how they are doing. I had a former student who came visit me at the beginning of this year who told me his teacher asked him how he got so good in math. He told me his reply was “I had Ms. Trahan last year.” Nothing touches a teacher’s heart more than to know your hard work is appreciated.” Jenny’s passion for math radiates into her students and lots of times math becomes a passion of theirs as

well. “I love when you can connect with a student on a level where they recognize their own potential,” explains Jenny,” I believe in middle school, the biggest tool to success is reaching out to students where they become independent thinkers and want to better themselves. Developing their own sense of self-pride and selfmotivation…it takes three: the parent, the student, and the teacher working together as a unit for a child to maximize his/her potential.” You can easily see why Jenny was this year’s Terrebonne Parish Teacher of the Year. “The support I received from my community, students, and faculty was breathtaking and unexpected. The roar of cheers that filled our school gymnasium from parents, students, and faculty when my principal announced that I was a Top 25 Finalist, at the time, was by far my most memorable experience. I was so touched to look out into the crowd and see them standing on their feet and cheering me on. WOW! Is all I could think…all this for me? This experience was very humbling. Terrebonne Parish is very fortunate to have many excellent teachers, and I was proud to represent them. I attest my personal success to the remarkable teachers of Oakshire who guided and help shape me into the teacher I am today.” She was also one of only five chosen to be a state finalist for teacher of the year. “It is such an honor and one that I would have thought to be impossible to obtain if you would’ve asked me at the beginning of last school year. Last year was my first year teaching sixth grade math, and I was the sole teacher of math for my grade level. So to finish top five out of 50,000 teachers in the state of Louisiana my first year teaching the content, still blows my mind. It was an awesome experience. All finalists were recognized at Cecil J. Picard Educator Excellence Symposium and Celebration in Baton Rouge on July 12 where she received a prize-valued package of approximately $6000. She was able to meet Louisiana State Superintendent John White and interact with many top leaders of education for our state. Furthermore, she was able to meet Ron Clark, a true inspiration to all educators. Jenny epitomizes following the dream and how hard work pays of and can impact thousands of lives. Terrebonne Parish is lucky to have her. pt



DIYwith yourKID Spooky Snow Globes

-Melanie Chatagnier, Houma

What you will need: Tree branches (real or fake) Small Halloween decorations A medium sized mason jar Plastic leaves Hot glue gun Water Glycerin Little ones love being creative! Anything they can participate in or manipulate with makes it even better. For this activity we took a classic snow globe project, but added a Halloween twist! This is truly a great activity for children of all ages and adults will have fun creating spooky snow globes as well.

Steps you’ll take:


Buy or pick a branch to be your spooky tree.


Once your tree section is picked, hot glue it to the inside lid of the jar.


Add leaves and other decorations on the tree. (We


Fill the jar with water, more spooky items, and 2oz of glycerin. (This ingredient slows

choose to add in spiders, candy corn, sparkly leaves, and spider webs for a spookier feel.)

down the movement, giving our leaves and spiders falling a spookier fall.) We mixed these

together in our jar.


placed our tree in and hot glued the top on nice and shut.


Knowledge is Power Using Common Core

-Anne marie Naquin, Houma

What is common core? How can I help and support my child at home with the new common core standards?


have been asked these questions a lot over the last few months. Common Core is not a curriculum. The standards establish what students need to learn, but they do not dictate how teachers should teach. Common Core Standards actually define what students need to learn in reading, writing and math in each grade to stay on track for college and careers. It is a set of measurable goals for all students with the emphasis being on creativity, critical and analytical thinking, and application. If you would like to ask questions or suggest topics, please email me at

Read Non-Fiction. Common Core elevates the importance of non-fiction or “informational text.” Read, reread, and even find multiple books on the same subjects that interest your child. If he loves bugs, find a book on crickets or spiders. If she loves gymnastics, read about Nadia Comanche. You can use to help you find grade-level appropriate books. Have fun with it; read with your child. Ask questions: Compare the information in the books. Ask how the author could have used other words to say something differently. Did you come across any new vocabulary?

The Love of Reading. Fiction: the entertaining reading! Don’t discount the enjoyment of still reading fiction with your child as well. This will help to foster their imagination and spark their interest in reading. When they get to the fun reading, it will actually be just that, fun! Ask your children questions about what they’re reading. A key shift with the Common Core is the requirement that students cite evidence from the texts they are reading to make an argument. Try asking questions that require your kids to talk about the content of the books they’re reading – Why did a character act heroic? What is the author teaching you? Describe important events in the story? How does the lead characters actions lead to the story conclusion? Identify the details to support the main idea of the passage.

Talk about things you see or read about in the news. Pick an article; read and discuss it. What was the main idea? Did the reporter convince you of something? Was evidence used to support a specific point.

Everyone has an opinion. During everyday disagreements and discussions, encourage your child to defend his or her opinion. Look online for facts and details to support it. If they want a raise in their allowance, make them convince you using real data as evidence of why it is a good idea.

“Talk math” with your kids.


The Common Core requires students to learn important math “reasoning” skills in addition to learning their multiplication tables and memorizing formulas. Look for word problems in everyday life. Have them estimate time and distance, compare the value of products in a store, or calculate the tip when you’re out to dinner. pt

Kidz on Computers Fixing Malware

-it-claude, Houma


s parents, we try to protect our children from the dangers of the internet. However, what about protecting the PC from our children’s mistakes? Of course, I am speaking about malware. Over the years, I have noticed that most of these programs are installed accidentally by users performing simple tasks such as Google searches for games, looking for program updates, or even updating drivers. Usually, the unknowing user clicks on a deceptive link, a fake program installer, or even allows an unknown plug-in to run in their browser. The result is a slow computer, program crashing, or even worse, the infamous Windows “blue screen of death.” This is coupled with the cost of repairing the PC to remove the infection or reinstall your system to factory defaults. And all the while, this scenario can be avoided by using some of the built-in safeguards within the Windows OS. User Account Control (UAC) is the single-most effective tool at every parent’s disposal as a measure to ensure extra security. In summary, UAC adds greater security to the PC by only allowing “administrator” accounts to install software (safe or harmful), change settings, or perform any other potentially damaging actions. All other “standard” accounts are restricted and require the administrator password in order to do these advanced tasks. This helps prevent children (and others) from accidentally clicking on the wrong link, pop-up window, or installing a malicious browser plug-in. Using UAC will not keep you virus/malware-free, but it will ensure that no rogue programs are installed without your knowledge. Those rogue programs act as “gateway” programs for all of the other garbage software out there and can potentially expose your PC to hackers. With online identity theft numbers on the rise every year, using safeguards like UAC and keeping updated anti-virus software go a long way in protecting your PC. In addition, it is always a good practice to use a secondary malware/spyware scanner, such as Malwarebytes Anti-Malware or IObit Malware Fighter. The scanning engine used by these programs will catch things your real-time anti-virus might not catch and removes them accordingly. Make sure these programs do not install with the option to run at startup because they can interfere with your regular anti-virus software. More is not better in this case. Have any questions you want answered or more information on a particular aspect of technology, email iT-Claude at pt



Parent Talk Magazine | October 2013