Internet Safety Tips for Seniors

Internet Safety Tips for Seniors

Thanks to today’s technological advances and the relative ease of getting online, we are able to learn new things instantly, check for random weather changes, re-connect with old friends, and check our bank account statements all in the comfort of our own homes.

For many seniors, avoiding the computer isn’t an option and they don’t seem bothered with the technical details of a computer. They dive right in to master tasks such as saving and printing a document, receiving an email and browsing the World Wide Web. Seniors have discovered that this ‘new’ technology is able to enhance and simplify their lives.

Be Savvy about Online Fraud and Scams

Not only do seniors these days manage their money on the net, play games and order their groceries, some have become bolder and have searched for a soulmate online. There are plenty of dating clubs on the Internet geared specifically towards senior citizens.

But what about Internet safety tips for seniors who are newbies to the online experience? After all, seniors didn’t grow up with computers and aren’t aware of scams, online fraud, identity theft and spam that they’ll soon encounter.

Seniors many times aren’t aware of the fact that you can’t be handing out your home phone number and street address to all those who enter your orbit on the Internet. For seniors it may seem as harmless as leaving a business card with someone interested in your products and services, but on the Internet it can come with unpleasant dimensions.

Be wary of emails that offer free gifts, free getaways and who also offer discount prescription medications.

Protecting Yourself and Your Loved One from the Perils of the Web

If you are computer savvy, don’t allow your mom and dad’s unfamiliarity with the web to be a barrier to them enjoying a safe experiencing while surfing the net. There are some simple but effective Internet safety tips for seniors that will protect them against online threats.

In fact, these basic precautionary measures will benefit anyone who uses the computer.

  • Make sure the computer has security software on it and also check that the auto-update feature is enabled to ensure your computer has the latest security

  • Passwords need to be unique and strong – these passwords need to be made up of upper and lower case letters as well as numbers. Never reveal your password to anyone online. Passwords are an excellent guarantee of safety and security online.

  • Post with caution on social networking sites. It is a good idea to also understand how privacy settings work on social networks.

  • Don’t automatically install a software because it is free – these types of software are generally riddled with spyware which can slow or crash your computer.

  • Attachments can contain a virus and the virus can be transmitted to your computer just as soon as you open the attachment. Be wary of suspect attachments, even from people you may know. If an email or attachment seems suspicious, don’t open it. Online criminals often use e-mail to get personal information from you in order to steal your identity. Sometimes these emails will invite you to click a link which downloads malware to your computer.

  • Although online banking is very convenient for seniors, be sure to only enter information into security-enabled sites. Sites for instance which begin with https:// means that the data is encrypted in transit. Look out for this and and don’t enter any bank details or credit card information into websites that start only with http://

  • Emotional abuse is as rife online as it is elsewhere. It is best not to satisfy the abuser with any kind of response.

  • Don’t Venture Onto the Internet Without Precautionary Measures

    The Internet holds enormous benefits for seniors, but even though the Internet is a useful tool, there are dangers which come with its use. If you are a seasoned Internet surfer, do inform your loved one of the nasty side of the Internet. They need to use it wisely to ensure it remains an exciting medium of communication for them.

    Senior Advisor's knowledgeable writers blog about senior care services, trends and more.

    3 Comments

    1. Anthony Merseal January 25, 2018 Reply

      This is really useful information, thank you for sharing.

    2. Catherine Coulson October 11, 2018 Reply

      Oh, how times have changed. Well, not really. But at least many parents today grew up with computers and at least have a little more common sense.

      In the early 90’s, the Michelangelo virus was the first computer virus that I remember gaining national media attention. My parents were so spooked, that they unplugged the computer (we had no modem at the time, so the entire computer), put it in a box, sealed the box with tape, and placed the whole thing in the attic for a month. They were under the (hilarious) impression that computer viruses were actual living viruses that somehow affected computers.

      Thankfully, by around 1998 or so, they had learned significantly more. Enough anyway, to assume that everyone on the internet who wasn’t a member of our immediate family was either a hacker or pedophile. Or both.

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