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3 Simple Ways to Be Savvier and Safer Online

Seniors can use these tips to enjoy the internet safely.
Author: Stephanie Conner

Technology can be overwhelming. After all, you didn’t grow up with computers, and now they’re everywhere. Whether you want to see your children’s Facebook updates, have video chats with your grandkids or send emails to friends, you’ll need some tech savvy.

1. Start simply.

Get a simple device with an internet connection, says Michael Miller, author of My iPad for Seniors and My Video Chat for Seniors. A computer can be hard to figure out, he says, and a phone’s small screen can be challenging to read. He recommends a tablet, such as an iPad.

Then, focus on learning a few simple applications that help you accomplish your goals. This may include emailing, video chatting, streaming TV or movies, and checking social media.

2. Be very cautious online.

Older adults are common targets of scams, unfortunately, “because they are more trusting in general,” says Scott Schober, author of Senior Cyber: Best Security Practices for Your Golden Years. They also tend to have financial savings that online scammers are after.

One popular tactic is phishing. A phishing email looks like a real email from a legitimate source, such as your bank. Scammers want you to click links or provide personal information so they can access your financial or other accounts. If you are not sure about the source of a request, do not respond—and you can always ask someone you know to help you check something out.

3. Build your tech skills.

Turn to trusted sources to learn more about technology, such as classes on how to use specific applications (Zoom or Facebook, for example) or how to set up a tablet or computer. Classes directed to seniors move at a pace for people who did not grow up with technology all around them. Of course, tech-savvy family members and trusted friends can be helpful as well.

By starting with easy technology, taking steps to be safe online and building on your tech knowledge, you can enjoy the benefits of a more connected world.