Important Tips for Staying Safe Online

safe laptop
safe laptop

As internet scams become more and more sophisticated, it’s getting harder to ensure our private information remains that way. 

Thankfully, there is a way to minimise your chances of being hacked. These simple but effective tips will help keep you vigilant during your online activity and ensure your data is as safe as it can be.

1. Consider Who You're Sharing Personal Data With

Limit your sharing of sensitive personal data (health, etc.) to trusted recipients such as government departments, public health officials, healthcare professionals or other recipients endorsed by them.

2. Read the Privacy Policy

It might seem laborious but it’s always worth taking a few minutes to read over the privacy policy or data protection notice of a service or website. This will tell you how your data will be processed, who it will be shared with and what purposes it will be used for.

3. Be Wary of Forwarded Links

It’s vital to be wary of links forwarded by SMS, messaging apps or email particularly if you’re not expecting them or you think it has been automatically forwarded. This is a common way to spread malicious links. 

4. Avoid Clicking on Unknown Links

If you’re unsure about a link or attachment, don’t click on it. Keep in mind that displayed text for a link can look like a legitimate URL but when you open it, the link may lead somewhere else entirely. 

5. Use Anti-Virus Software to protect your devices

Ensure you have up-to-date antivirus or online security software installed on all of your devices. Don’t forget that smartphones and tablets are just as in need of malware protection these days as laptops or desktops!

For more information, articles and videos about online safety, visit our Digital Ready Hub. 

4 great reasons to do a Virtual Fundraiser

virtual fundraiser
virtual fundraiser

The lives of children and young people were turned upside down in 2020. They needed Childline more than ever but at the same time, so many of the traditional fundraising activities on which we rely could not take place. 

Thankfully, the true nature of people shone through as we came together in adversity and began virtual fundraisers for vital services. We are so grateful to everyone who ran marathons in their estates, kicked solos in their back gardens, cycled from Malin to Mizen and helped raise the funds we need to keep Chidline listening. 

But as 2021 stretches before us, it’s clear that, although there is light at the end of the tunnel, we’ve quite a way to go before we step into it. We continue to receive up to 800 calls, texts and online contacts from children and young people daily seeking our support. 

That’s where you come in. While it’s a wonderful thing to donate money or time to charity, have you ever thought about becoming a fundraiser?

If you’ve been feeling down or frustrated during yet another lockdown, doing a virtual fundraiser is a fantastic way to give your life a whole new purpose.

Here are just some of the benefits….

  1. You’ll feel amazing!

Gifer.com

We all want to feel good about ourselves and that’s not always easy when we’re worrying about the state of the world or when we’ll be able to get back to work. Doing a virtual fundraiser will give you an extra incentive to get out of bed in the morning, plan your day and know that, despite your circumstances, you’re doing something that will benefit people’s lives. That’s pretty powerful stuff!

2. You’ll get your body moving

While some challenges involve baking or learning a new skill, it’s fair to say that most of them involve a physical element. It could be walking 10,000 steps a day, doing a plank challenge, yoga, running, dancing…anything! 

Doing a physical challenge creates an excellent routine for you that will relieve stress, give you a rush of endorphins (happy hormones) and help you stay fit and healthy. That’s a win-win right there!

3. You’ll connect with more people

Giphy.com

Doing a virtual fundraiser is a brilliant way to reconnect with people you might have lost touch with over the last few months or years. By putting your fundraising challenge on Facebook or Instagram, you’ll be amazed at who reaches out to donate to your cause, who sends you a DM to congratulate you on your work or just leaves a hearty ‘fair play’ in the comments!

4. You’ll be helping to keep our vital services afloat

We all need a purpose in life and for many people, the coronavirus has taken that away from them. Doing a virtual fundraiser for ISPCC Childline means that you are helping vulnerable children when they need us most. It’s been a tough year for everyone, but especially children who have had their routine, friends, education and freedom ripped away, perhaps without fully realising why.

Childline is there for every child and young person who wants to talk – whether it’s about Covid_19, their family and friends, their homework or just how bored they are. No issue is too big or too small.

Help us keep the lines of communication wide open to the children of Ireland. Sign up for a virtual fundraiser today – we bet you’ll be glad you did!

6 Things To Get You Through The January Blues

january
january

Most of us know that Blue Monday happens on the third Monday of every January. But did you know that the term itself was coined by psychologist Dr. Cliff Arnell in 2004 to help boost airline ticket sales in the month of January?

Brutal, but ultimately, highly effective. 

January can be a depressing month. Christmas is over, people are back to work and children are back to school. It’s certainly understandable that people might be feeling unmotivated and a bit fed up.

Of course, it’s important to state that feeling depressed cannot be dictated by a date in the calendar but if Blue Monday opens up the conversation about mental health, then that can only be a good thing.

It’s the perfect excuse to talk to someone you might be concerned about or to check in with your children to see how they are feeling following the Christmas holidays. 

If you’ve been feeling anxious, here are a few things that might help ease the knot in your stomach. 

1. Talk

If you’re a parent or carer struggling with the demands of lockdown and homeschooling or just need to vent, we have a Parenting Support Line which can be contacted by email at [email protected] or Monday to Friday between 9am–1pm by calling 01 522 4300.

2. Exercise

You’re probably sick of hearing people banging on about it but moving your body, preferably outdoors in nature, is the best thing you can do for your head. 

3. Podcasts

There are so many podcasts out there now that the choice can be almost overwhelming. On the plus side, you can choose literally any topic in the world – music, movies, TV, wellness, health, teaching, languages, carpentry, poetry – and you’re guaranteed to find one to suit you. 

4. Journal

If you don’t want to share your worries with anyone, write them down. It’s funny how different things look when we see them on paper. Once you’ve done that, draw a line down the centre of the page and write down what you can do to help minimise your stress and the things that are outside your control. Eg. How others act in a pandemic.

5. Meditation

Meditation isn’t for everyone but thanks to the variety available, it’s worth exploring to see if you can find something that resonates with you. If you’re a beginner, a guided meditation is the best way to start. You’ll find more than you can listen to in a lifetime on Youtube or smartphone apps. Search for the area you’re interested in – sleep, stress management, confidence, peace, motivation – and see how you feel afterwards. 

6. Be Kind 

This is a reminder that you don’t have to be doing something wildly productive or self-improving to be worthy of love or kindness. If you are feeling particularly low today, do whatever you need to do to make yourself feel better. 

Watch a movie, phone your best mate, make your favourite dessert, browse interiors on Pinterest, spend the morning in bed watching a feel-good TV series like Parks and Recreation, play with your dog, read a trashy novel, scroll through positive or humorous accounts on Instagram, eat the ice-cream… Whatever you do, own it and ENJOY IT!