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Safer Surfing

Written by: Adam Wild
16/10/2017

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For those of us that didn’t grow up using computers every day they can sometimes seem confusing and more than a little scary, writes Bank of Ireland’s Adam Wild, but that’s no reason not to use them. 

Safer Surfing

Computers and the internet open up a world of information and experiences to all age groups, allowing us to keep in touch with friends and relatives a thousand miles away, or in the next village. We can order groceries for delivery from the comfort of our homes. 

Missed that programme on TV? No problem! Catch-up TV is hugely popular on the internet. Whether it’s making everyday tasks easier or learning new skills, the internet can help. 

However, as well as opening up lots of positive opportunities there are plenty of people looking to take advantage of internet users, whatever their age.There are some relatively simple rules that we should all follow when we are online: 

1. Passwords

When you use a computer or visit a website you will often be asked for a password. This is really important because it confirms that you are who you say you are.

Passwords also stop someone else from pretending to be you and reading your email or accessing your bank details. It’s very important that you use strong passwords and never share your passwords with anyone. 

Make sure your passwords are long — at least eight characters — and include numbers, upper and lowercase letters and symbols; avoid using names or dictionary words that could be guessed.

2. Social Media

On social media sites like Facebook we can share our thoughts and photos with all our friends instantly. But make sure you use the privacy settings in Facebook to control who sees what you post. Normally you want to restrict this to ‘friends’.

Also, think before you post. What you share with friends could easily be forwarded on to many other people.

My golden rule is: if you wouldn’t say it on a postcard, don’t write it on a website. 

3. Junk Mail

Unfortunately it’s pretty common to be plagued by junk or spam mail. Getting these messages isn’t necessarily dangerous, but it can be annoying.

Make sure you’re using whatever spam filter is provided by your email service or just delete the annoying mails without opening them.

Never respond, even to ask them to stop sending. 

4. Computer Viruses

Just like us, computers can become infected with a virus. But these are man-made and designed to steal or delete your information.

Make sure you have up-to-date anti-virus software running on your computer.

There are excellent free versions available to download from the internet. It’s also important that you keep your computer up-to-date with the latest operating system updates.

Your computer normally reminds you when these are due. 

5. Phishing Attacks

The most common way that viruses get onto a computer is through phishing attacks. These are emails that look like they come from a genuine source but actually come from people looking to steal your information.

They often encourage you to click on a link in the email to get some free offer or more information. Sometimes these emails can look very convincing.

In reality, clicking the link can download a virus which allows someone to access your information and computer.

It is really important that you don’t click on any links in emails when you don’t know who they are from or what the link will do.

Be suspicious, be safe. Remember that banks will never email a customer to ask for their bank details.

Bank of Ireland has dedicated helpers in our branches, called ‘Digital Arrows’. They are ready to help people get started with things like email, browsing the internet and using online banking.

For more information on protecting yourself online visit www.bankofireland.com/security.

Ask in your local branch for details about our Digital Arrows or contact them directly at thearrows@boi.com

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Top tips for staying cool

  • Keep out of the heat. Stay inside during the hottest time of the day – late morning to mid-afternoon. If you do go out, wear a hat and keep to the shade as much as possible. It’s very important to use sun screen of at least factor 15.
  • If you are travelling by car or public transport always take a bottle of water.
  • Avoid strenuous activity and limit activities like housework and gardening to the early morning or evening when it’s cooler.
  • When inside, try to stay in the coolest parts of your home. Keep curtains and blinds closed in rooms that catch the sun. Remember that lights generate heat. Keep windows shut while it’s cooler inside than out and open them when it gets hotter inside. If it’s safe, you could leave a window open at night when it’s cooler. Fans can help sweat evaporate but do not cool the air itself.
  • Wear loose, lightweight, light-coloured cotton clothing.
  • Take cool baths or showers.
  • Splash your face with cold water or place a damp cloth or scarf on the back of your neck to help you cool off.
  • Drink lots of fluid – even if you’re not thirsty. Limit drinks with caffeine (like coffee and cola) and avoid alcohol as it can increase dehydration.
  • Eat normally but try to have more cold foods, particularly salads and fruit as they contain a lot of water.

Dehydration and overheating

Extreme heat and humidity can cause you to dehydrate and your body to overheat. Watch out for certain signs: particularly for muscle cramps in your arms, legs or stomach, mild confusion, weakness or sleep problems. If you have any of these, rest in a cool place and drink plenty of fluids. Seek medical advice if your symptoms persist or worsen.

Heat exhaustion and heatstroke

The symptoms of heat exhaustion include headaches, dizziness, nausea or vomiting, pale skin, heavy sweating and a high temperature.

If you have any of these symptoms you must:

  • find a cool place and loosen tight clothes
  • drink plenty of water or fruit juice
  • sponge yourself with cold water or have a cool shower.

If you’re having difficulty, or your symptoms persist for several hours, seek medical advice. Heatstroke can develop if heat exhaustion is left untreated - but it can also develop suddenly and without warning. The symptoms of heatstroke include hot and red skin, headaches, nausea, intense thirst, raised temperature, confusion, aggression and loss of consciousness. Heatstroke is a life-threatening condition.

So if you or someone else shows symptoms:

  • call 999 immediately or 112 if you are in the European Union (you can call 112 from a mobile for free). If you have a community or personal alarm press the button on your pendant to call for help.
  • while waiting for the ambulance, follow the advice given above for heat exhaustion but do not try to give fluids to anyone who is unconscious.

Further information

If you live alone consider asking a relative or friend to visit or phone to check that you are not having difficulties during periods of extreme heat.

  • If you know a neighbour who lives alone, check they are ok.
  •  Check for weather forecasts and temperature warnings on TV and radio, and online at  https://www.met.ie/warnings
  • If you have breathing problems or a heart condition your symptoms might get worse when it’s very hot.
  • For further advice about heat-related illness contact your GP.

Summer Raffle Winners

Congratulations to the winners of our Summer Raffle. We're so grateful to everyone who participated and who raised more than 18,000 euro to support older people in Ireland.

This year's winners were:

1st Prize winner €1,500

S Deegan, Dublin

2nd Prize winner €1,000

A Parks, Dublin

3rd Prize winner €500

M Dangerfield, Dublin

And the winner of our Sellers Prize was:

Sellers Prize €100

M Kane, Galway, €100

Thank you to all who supported the raffle, this is one of our biggest and most reliable fundraisers, so your support makes all the difference.

 


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Safer Surfing | Age Action

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