It is that time of year again, where Apple is launching the latest smartphone. Naturally, your 15-year-old has been asking you non-stop about purchasing the newest gadget for them. But, you are a little awe-struck when your senior mother is wanting the same phone! Seniors have been adapting to the change in technology and closing the learning curve. The internet and other modern devices can be very beneficial for information and socialization, but it is not risk-free. It is up to you to educate your older loved ones on safety tips in technology for seniors!
Does mom or dad already own a smartphone or are they planning on buying one? Smartphones can be very helpful for navigating your way around, contacting people, and so much more. Nowadays, they are tiny computers that fit in your pocket. They hold a lot of information and need to be kept safe. Remind mom or dad to follow these rules when using a smartphone.
- There should always be an automatic lock setting in use to secure the phone whenever it is left unattended.
- Be sure this technology for the senior in your life is secured with a passcode; newer phones can also be unlocked with a fingerprint or even facial recognition.
- Notify your older loved one to avoid answering calls from unknown sources or falling for scam calls that ask for money and other personal information.
- Also, make sure the only Wi-Fi networks that are being accessed through the phone are secured and trusted. Otherwise, scammers will be able to access your phone and steal pertinent information.
Whether it is a tiny computer, like a smartphone, or a desktop computer, ensure it’s being used safely. If mom or dad are like most seniors, then they probably feel more comfortable using a real computer. The bigger screens are easier to see, while the keyboards and mouse can be easier to manipulate. Technology for seniors can make every day easier, but if it is at risk of being compromised, then it could make for a dreadful day. Be sure to inform mom or dad of the following computer safety tips.
- All devices, computers, smartphones, etc., should all be password protected for optimum security.
- Be sure to have a security suite installed; we recommend McAfee Total Protection or Norton Security Deluxe. It is essential to have security software on the computer to prevent computer infections, like viruses and malware.
- Just like a smartphone, if your computer can connect to Wi-Fi always be sure the provider is trustworthy and secure!
- If your older loved one needs further education, consider signing them up for a computer class. If your loved one is a resident of Oaks Senior Living, then try contacting the Lifestyle Director for any class offerings.
Emails and Messages
Email technology for seniors can mean the difference between depression and good health. Messages and emails can connect your older loved ones to other family members and their friends no matter how much distance is between them. It saves more time and money than traditional mailing sources. Just like seniors and technology of computers, emails have their own risks. Remind mom or dad to follow these safety steps while messaging others.
- Do not communicate with people you do not know. Some people may pretend not to be a threat waiting to take advantage of your loved one.
- Be sure to inform them not to click links or download anything in an email that does not come from a trusted source. They could accidentally download a virus.
- Do not believe everything you read. Scammers may pose as a friend or financial institution asking for money or claiming you need to provide personal information. Be sure your loved one knows which sources are professional. Another way to prevent fraud is for them to send you all the suspicious emails they come across, for you to determine if it is a threat.
Fraud and Scams
Scammers target seniors. They target seniors because of their savings accounts, unfamiliarity with the internet, and good-old kindheartedness. Cyber-attacks such as scams can be disguised in a number of ways. Scammers can attempt computer access scams, financial scams, personal information scams, or even family impersonation scams. The National Council on Aging also delves into various senior targeted scams. It is up to you to protect your loved ones and inform them of the dangers of scams littered across the internet. Start by informing them to:
- Never send money to anyone over the internet (or by phone) unless they have proven to be someone close to your loved one. This includes entering their credit card information or any financial transactions through websites, emails, etc.
- Be sure they know not to disclose any kind of personal information over the internet, even if it seems as harmless as entering your address to play a game or take a quiz.
- Do not access links, clickable texts, and attachments that you are unsure what they truly lead to.
Other Safety Tips for Technology and Seniors
The internet hosts unfathomable entry points to worldwide access. Knowing how to navigate the internet safely can determine if you are learning or giving. No matter the device or platform it is essential to educate your loved ones how to “surf the web” safely.
- Use passwords that are unique and strong. Make sure they have different passwords for different accounts. Keep track of all passwords in a separate location, such as a notebook in their desk.
- Downloading files or software can always carry a risk. Trojan horses and computer viruses can hide in any file type. Inform them never to download anything unless you have approved the content.
- Social Media is an amazing social tool but poses the threat of personal information release. Inform mom or dad to never post their location or other personal information.
- Cyberbullying can happen to anyone at any age. If they are experiencing any harassment, they need to report it to the platform’s regulator or block the instigator.
- Only use websites that are trusted, especially when it comes to banking or shopping.
- Be sure they check all their accounts regularly. Monitor email, banking, and other online accounts. Check for fraudulent use or sign-ins.
The internet can be a scary place. But if your older loved one follows these safety tips in technology for seniors, it can be a safer place. Help keep your family safe and informed. Have mom or dad take this online senior safety quiz before clearing them for personal internet use. If you still think they need extra help, consider signing them up for a computer class at your local library or with an Oaks Lifestyle Director.
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