I have been very happy with Norton 2010, for computer protection, which can be purchased from amazon at about £17 and is licenced for three computers, so you could buy with a friend.(choose free delivery option) You do need to spend time learning to use computer security, set time aside for it, but it does protect your computer and it works more quickly when free from viruses.
There are other security programmes which are just as good but whichever you choose, a purchased security is definitely more reliable, unless you know how to remove viruses, some people do this manually.
I use Word 7 which I find reliable, good options on toolbar, and easy to attach to email. Most recipients can use it. Adobe with free downloads is reliable. Yahoo mail/messenger seems pretty good and has a virus check too. I cannot advise about games but well known brands are usually safer. Apologies if this is not the kind of advice you were looking for!