According to the Pew Research Center, as of 2019, approximately 46% of seniors 65 and older use Facebook to stay in touch with family members and friends. While experienced social media users typically know how to navigate privacy settings and understand the hidden dangers of sharing too much, seniors who are new to the platforms may need a few pointers to remain safe. Consider some of the following tips and tricks for senior social media usage across all platforms.
From Facebook to Instagram, all social media sites have user-controlled privacy settings that make it possible for you to decide who has access to what you share online. Go under your settings on each site and take a few minutes to understand the privacy settings. Set your profile so that it's only visible to select audiences and not the general public. If you're not sure how to manage privacy settings, ask older grandkids for assistance or check into social media workshops at the local library.
On social media, you have the power to choose the people you would like to add to your online community. While it may be tempting to add random individuals or those you don't know very well, be extremely careful about who you befriend. Selectively choose your friends by only requesting a friendship with those you are close to. Be sure to ignore or deny friend request from people you don't know personally.
Prevent yourself from being a target for criminal activity by exercising extreme caution while online. Think before you check in at any place or consider checking in as you start to leave instead of when you get to a location.
Social media provides an outlet for scammers who fish for personal information, so as a general rule you should never send financial information to anyone you know or don't know via these channels. Legitimate companies know social media is not safe for sharing such information, so they typically won't ask.
If you receive a link in a personal message or if someone posts a link online, it's a good idea to research it before you click. If the link seems suspicious, it probably is. Major companies rarely give away money or products to consumers who click on a link. Go straight to the company website or contact them by phone if you have any doubts.
Sharing family photos, good news, personal stories and information like a grandchild's school function or an adult child's job information may seem like a natural thing to do. Keep in mind, if you tag the person and share information, both your friends and the other person's friends will see what you've posted. Take care in posting photos and information that might be damaging to the other person.
At Park Regency in Loveland, CO, we care about our seniors. If you have any questions or concerns about your internet or social media usage, talk to one of our staff members who can assist you.