Surfing the web can be a great tool for seniors, especially those that live in isolated locations, or for other reasons don’t leave their home often. Social networks and video calling are incredible platforms to stay in touch with family members across the country and around the world, and many seniors are enjoying access to this fast and free ‘face-to-face’ interaction with their loved ones, from the comfort of their own homes.
The biggest concern with anyone sharing and connecting on the internet is, of course, staying safe. Sharing information online always has a potential for privacy issues, and can scare a lot of adults away from interacting online. However, equipped with the right knowledge and tips on how to stay safe online, a senior can begin to enjoy all of the benefits of social networks. Simply follow these golden rules:
- Protect your password. Using hard to guess passwords, or apps that protect your password, will keep you from being ‘hacked’. Change your passwords regularly, too.
- Utilise the privacy settings. All social networks have settings when you register that determine how much others can find out about you. Facebook, for example, has customisable settings where you can easily select that only your friends see your personal information, your photos, etc.
- Don’t post your location or whereabouts. If you live alone, don’t disclose that on any social network. The reason? This leads to a lot of home robberies. Say you have posted that you live alone, and then later post that you are looking forward to your vacation. You have now shared that your house will be empty for a period of time. The solution? Post about your vacation afterwards.
- Be selective. Don’t accept all friend/connection requests. If someone doesn’t look relevant – or doesn’t even look real – don’t connect. It’s ok to be rude sometimes.