Stay safe online – online counselling
Personal privacy depends on your circumstances – you will need to think about how to maintain your security online – and you may want to think about the following;
- Computer – if you share your computer with others ensure your passwords are not known by others
- Location – when you are writing/reading emails or using skype; it’s important to feel uninhibited and free to think/feel/talk.
- Internet security – protect your computer and all your online information.
- Email account – sign up for a “Hushmail account”, it’s free! If you forward your Hushmail messages to other email accounts be aware that this puts your privacy at risk.
An E-mail Account
You can use any email account, although it is good to be aware that mistakes can happen, and a separate account solely to access your counselling may be advisable.
Hushmail is FREE
Hushmail is an e-mail account with encryption – the connection between your computer and the Hushmail server is protected by encryption. That means that if someone is eavesdropping on your Internet connection, they will not be able to read what you send to the Hushmail website. This is especially important if you are using your computer on a public or office network to email, or if you are using a wireless connection that may not be encrypted, ie some tablets, phones
Skype and Hangouts are FREE
Think about –
- The spec of pc / modem broadband etc.
- Time – make a time when you are free from distractions so you are able to keep your weekly appointment
- Ensure you have downloaded all tools necessary for the medium you will be working in.
If you are thinking about using skype chat or skype webcam as your counselling medium, you will need to ensure that your pc is able to support both the software/ hardware for skype, and that your modem and broadband is sufficiently fast to manage the connection
Skype is one of the more secure ways to video call and chat as it uses a 256-bit encryption; an AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) used to protect sensitive information.
The skype software is not necessary if you want to use email based communications – and the modem connection time is also less important
Hangouts you can access through a google/gmail account on pc or a downoadable app via mobile phone.
There are many different internet security and antivirus software systems and many are free; ensure you have something that you are happy with and which works well with your pc
Currently I am accepting payments only by Paypal. Safety tip, ensure that the address bar shows the https://www ie it should not be http://www. The ‘s‘ after http confirms that you are accessing a secured server. I have been asked about accepting payment through Google wallet – and although I do not have this facility set up as yet, watch out for some additional ways to pay – to ensure ease of payment – they will be arriving soon!