The internet is full of risks. It is true that the internet is a great way for older parents to keep in constant touch with their distant friends and relatives. Even so, it is not completely safe and therefore, one should exercise caution while accessing the big bad web.
Here are some social media safety tips for the elderly.
1. Strong password
One thing the elderly should be careful about is setting the passwords for various sites. One should make sure that they are using a strong password. In addition, one should use different passwords for different sites. If the elderly have a tendency of forgetting their passwords, one should write them down on a piece of paper and tuck it away from the computer.
2. Privacy settings
Sites like Facebook and Instagram have various privacy settings. Make sure that you use them to your advantage. You can change the privacy settings to private. This is a crucial step, as sometimes the elderly do not realize that they are being too public and exposing themselves too by communicating things on a public forum.
3. Scam messages
The elderly should be wary of spam messages. Just as you receive spam messages in your emails, those messages can enter your Facebook messenger or Instagram direct messages too. If you receive a message from someone you do not know, ignore it. Simple!
4. Keep certain information to yourself
Under no circumstances, should one publicly post about when they are away from home or when they are home alone. Both these situations mean that either the house is empty or that you are alone and vulnerable. If you are vacationing, save those beautiful pictures until you are back before posting them on any social media.
5. Click less, not more
Be selective about your clicks. Facebook is fraught with dangers. One should be wary about clicking on sites, which are not verified or known. Only click on links you are sure about, like a news site you are familiar with. Else, you are putting yourself at risk of malware or ads.
6. Skip posts with unbelievable offers
If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Promises of great offers and rewards, even if it comes from friends, should be blatantly ignored. So skip such posts or delete such messages.
7. Think before you post
Be sure of what you want to communicate and share on social media. In spite of the privacy settings, whatever you post on social media can be copied and shared by others. Whether it’s a photo, video or comment, be careful as whatever you share on social media is a reflection of you. While commenting on a post, try not to insult anyone with your opinions. Understand that people can have differing opinions to yours and it is perfectly all right. Do not let a comment bother you too much and learn to ignore and move on.
8. Report abuse
Adults can be bullied online same as children. Therefore, report abuse against anyone who unnecessarily abusive throws accusatory remarks or is threatening you on social media. All social media sites respond to abuse complaints. Be it a friend, family member or a caregiver even, reach out for help from someone you trust or from adult protective services or law enforcement before it is too late.
Do not be ashamed to speak up if you are victimized. Do not donate money online unless you are sure about the said NGO. If you are making plans to meet someone you met online, watch out for all the red flags. Meet at a public place inform someone about your whereabouts. If you shop online regularly, be careful of transacting only on reputed and trusted sites. If you are looking for health advice online, again stick to trusted sites. Most sites are just trying to promote their products and hence, aren’t any good.
The elderly should also be careful about whom they authorize to access their net banking portal as well as social media accounts. The internet is not ruled by innocence and therefore has a dark side to it too. Making sure that the elderly understand the nuances and protect themselves online is of utmost importance. Make the elderly self-aware about the above safety tips so that they can use social media with confidence and prevent themselves from online phishing and scams.
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