It seems any computer connected to the internet today is just waiting to fall victim to any number of malicious viruses and spyware programs. Most users have antivirus software loaded and keep it updated, but very few have installed any sort of protection against spyware.
If you are running Windows 2000 or Windows XP, there is an option for you that is free. It's called the Microsoft Windows AntiSpyware Utility. It is still in beta now, but we have been installing it for customers for several weeks now and find it pretty reliable. Once installed, the program resides in the system tray near the clock much like your antivirus software. It monitors your internet connection and warns you when it detects a spyware program attempting to install on your computer. It also updates itself by automatically downloading new spyware information from Microsoft just like your antivirus software updates itself. Now, if that is not enough, the Microsoft Windows AntiSpyware Utility can also scan your computer each night to detect and clean any spyware that may have gotten through.
To download the program, go to http://www.PreactiveIT.com, click on "Free Utilities", look for "Microsoft Windows AntiSpyware Utility" and click the link to the right that says "Click here to download". When the File Download window opens, click on Run or Open. This will begin the installation. It is pretty simple to install. You will have to click next a few times and agree to the "End User License Agreement" (EULA) that is pretty typical with most installations.
Hopefully, this utility will prove to be very valuable for you. If you have had troubles with your children downloading spyware onto your PC in the past, this probably will not eliminate the problem, but it will certainly make it a little more bearable. As always, do not hesitate to contact us at PreactiveIT.com if you have any questions.