sealPurdue Lifestyles Briefs

July 1999

Be aware of kids' Y2K concerns, Purdue expert advises

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Parents making preparations for possible problems surrounding year 2000 computer bugs had better take time to talk with their children about the issue, says a Purdue University Extension specialist.

Children who watch their parents store up extra food and make copies of financial documents may have questions and concerns. "A child's foundation is its family," says Aadron Rausch, Cooperative Extension Service specialist and assistant director for outreach with the Purdue Center for Families. "If parents are stressed about the issue, then their children will probably be stressed too.

"It is OK for parents to acknowledge that they don't know for sure what is going to happen as a result of the Y2K issue and that not knowing can be scary. The Y2K issue provides a good opportunity for families to re-evaluate their preparedness for any emergency situation."

Rausch offers the following suggestions for explaining the Y2K issue to children and helping them deal with their concerns.

• Find out what they already know. "Parents should ask their children, 'What have you heard about the Y2K issue and what do you think?'" Rausch says. She also stresses that parents should try to find out what children have learned about the issue at school. She says that when possible, children need to hear consistent messages.

• Make sure you understand the issues and concerns. "Try to learn as much about the Y2K issue as you can," Rausch says. "Even if parents are not very knowledgeable about computers and the Y2K issue, they can seek out information, and better yet, involve their children in the learning process."

• Put children at ease by letting them know that you are prepared for any problems. "It is important to let them know that the Y2K issue will not harm them and that the family has made every preparation to cope with whatever happens," she says. Parents might even want to involve their children in the planning as a way to teach valuable problem-solving skills, Rausch suggests.

CONTACT: Rausch (765) 494-9516;

Company's Web site takes the trauma out of travel

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – A travel advice Web site designed by a company with headquarters at the Purdue University Research Park is now easily accessible to America On Line's 17 million customers.

The Ticked-Off Tourist, which publishes daily travel articles that offer insight and information to the leisure traveler, has just become a publishing partner on America On Line's travel channel. That means when AOL customers click on the travel button on AOL's home page, they go straight to AOL's preferred travel sites, which now include

"Travelers can become victims because of their lack of awareness of industry practices or due to the presence of occasional fraud. Our job is to give travelers the advice they need to avoid all of the pitfalls associated with a confusing travel industry," said Scott Bechtel,'s chief executive officer.

Web surfers can drop in and read stories by well-known travel columnists. The site's founder and editor, Christopher Elliott, writes a column for called "The Crabby Traveler" along with several other Internet travel columns. Other contributors:

• Joe Brancatelli, Biztravel columnist, writes one of the site's flagship features "JoeSentMe." Drawing on his knowledge and experience from working at Travel and Leisure magazine and Travel Holiday magazine and editing Frequent Flyer magazine, he offers unconventional advice for leisure travelers.

• Charlie Leocha, a travel book writer well-known for his money-saving suggestions, created the column called "Cheap Charlie."

• David Kirby, editor of the Interactive Travel Report, is the site's online booking expert, revealing who's good and who's not.

• Terry Riley, a security consultant who wrote the book "Travel Can Be Murder," delivers a hard-hitting column on the dangers of travel and how to stay safe when you're on the road.

The Purdue Research Park is home to 81 companies that employ 2,500 people and is sponsored by the Purdue Research Foundation, a nonprofit corporation.

CONTACT: Bechtel, (765) 538-1100;

Purdue students tap into power of Web investing

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue University students are cashing in on a course that teaches them the ins and outs of investing, particularly online investing, at an early age.

The fact that students are both computer and market savvy is driving the trend in young would-be investors, says Sugato Chakravarty, an assistant professor of consumer sciences and retailing who has been teaching this undergraduate personal finance course for three years.

Last spring, all 200 seats were taken in Chakravarty's course and two more classes will be added when students return in the fall. Although the class also addresses credit, insurance and retirement issues, over half of the time is devoted to demystifying the stock market and learning how to use the World Wide Web to research and invest in various stocks.

"Above all, I emphasize that you need to be an educated consumer," Chakravarty says. "And that's easier than ever if you know how to find reputable information on the Internet."

Chakravarty is quick to warn his students and others not to try to compete with the online professional day traders who can still get in and out of a market faster than the average online investor.

"While the Internet has empowered the average investor, it's also created a greater volatility in the market on a daily basis," he says. "The potential pitfalls of online trading can come from false information or rumors in chat rooms or a temporary groundswell of excitement over a particular stock."

He encourages his students to remember the fundamentals of sound investment strategy and not to trade on sentiment.

Although many of the students don't have the money to invest now, Chakravarty says he sees his job as preparing them for the future.

"Giving a student a degree, a nice paycheck and the opportunity to invest without the knowledge of how to invest is like giving them a loaded gun without showing them how to use it," he says.

CONTACT: Chakravarty, (765) 494-6427;

Compiled by Beth Forbes, (765) 494-9723; (765) 497-7102;

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

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