Social Networking Surges among North Carolina Seniors

Interim HealthCare Blogs
Posted: 10/18/2013 12:00 AM by Interim HealthCare
Wait a minute, Grandma is posting on Facebook and Grandpa is searching for old colleagues on LinkedIn? According to a 2010 report from the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Institute, more and more people 50 and older are joining social networks.
 
As older Americans are becoming increasingly computer literate, the promise of social networking – sharing photos, videos, links, contacts and status updates – has incredible purpose for seniors and intergenerational connections. In addition to family, seniors have also found that social networking allows them to connect with people and friends from their past. These connections can build, enhance and even increase support networks for seniors.
 
According to AARP, the top online activities for people over 60 are Google, Facebook, Yahoo and YouTube. But with more and more older Americans joining social networks, there are also some user hazards to be aware of. At Interim HealthCare, we’ve seen some of our senior home care clients fall prey to online scams and with that mind, we’ve outlined some key tips below to stay safe while navigating social networks.
 

  • Think Before You Click – use caution before you click on links that you receive in messages or on wall posts from friends or potential acquaintances. If it looks suspicious our out of place, it probably is.
  • Control Your Privacy – stay away from passwords that are answers to common privacy questions such as your maiden name, birthday, hometown, etc. That information can easily be found so don’t draw your answers from material anyone can find with a quick search. And by all means, do not ever give away any private information such as bank accounts, address or phone number to anyone online. Also be sure to make sure you’ve set up your privacy setting so that only friends can see your information.
  • Be Selective – you don’t have to be friends with everyone online. Be picky and sure of whom you are connecting with to minimize the risk of identity theft or spam.
  • Choose Your Social Network Carefully – if you plan to join a site outside of the major ones such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, make sure you evaluate the site and understand their privacy policy.
  • Assume Everything You Post is Permanent – even if you delete an account, the information you posted can still be easily accessed. Anything you put online is there forever for anyone to see.
  • Be Careful About Installing Extras – many social networking sites allow you to download third-party applications. Some are fun and as innocent as games and gadgets, but others are used to steal your information.
 
IT’s great that older Americans are getting up to date with technologies and social networking especially for those who live away from their loved ones as it may be an opportunity to notice changes in their behaviors which could be early signs of dementia. If you notice they aren’t being as active as they once where or strange posts it may also give you an opportunity to reach out to them to make sure they are still safe on their own.
 
 

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