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Preschool Education FAQ

=========Software to watch out for==========

The internet is great, isn't it? Many free games, and programs to download. A word of advice: You should be aware of what you are downloading on the internet. Just because it is free, does not mean that it doesn't have "extra" pieces of programming attached. It is known that some programs contain viruses. Preventing and fixing viruses can be helped by using a good anti-virus program such as Norton.

Sometimes however, there is a piece of programming installed with the software program that you downloaded and it's not exactly considered a virus. It's a piece of code that may not be deleted if you delete the software that you downloaded. How about that? Basically, you are getting tagged! What is this program I am referring to? It's called "Scumware" , "Predatory Advertising Software" or "Parasiteware".

How do you know if you have it? Let's say you download a free program. Later after you are done playing with it, you go surfing the internet. Let's say you go to All of a sudden you see a popup ad for another bookstore. Who the heck at Amazon would have placed up an ad for a competitor's online store? Not Amazon! Seeing competitor type ads on sites you visit could be one clue that you have the scumware on your computer.

Do you have a favorite site that you go to read book reviews? Let's say you read a book review and decide to purchase the book. You click through and purchase the book. The site that referred you may get a percentage of the sale. That's great! They deserve it for the time they took to provide you with the book review. But, what you may not know, if you have scumware on your computer, is that the scumware has kicked in and takes the percentage of sale that SHOULD have belonged to the referring site. What? Yes, the commission is hijacked!

Can it be prevented in the first place? In many cases, yes. Make it a point to read the end-user license agreements before downloading software. Yawn.... you say? Well, yes, it is boring. But, it is frustrating to skip over reading certain important add-ons from these companies. It is in the writing, and it can be smoothed over with some fancy writing. The best advice I can give you is to read up on it and learn about it. Research through the search engines, such as Google. There are an amazing amount of articles on this issue. It is a rising problem.

How can you get rid of scumware if you think you have it? There are many software programs available to help you search your computer for scumware. One site that is extremely helpful is Parasiteware at

Shawn Collins of ClubMom has been highlighted in The New York Times in an article pertaining to parasiteware...

Scumware prevention and removal article written by M. E. Kabay is located here...


I'm not trying to scare you. Don't be afraid of downloading everything on the internet. You just need to be informed about these important issues. Knowledge of power!

Written by Wendy Shepherd of

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