Social media has become a part of everyday life for most of us. We check our email and social platforms like Facebook several times a day. And that includes seniors.
According to Pew Research Internet Project, 59% of adults over the age of 65 are online. Research also shows that one third of all seniors are now enjoying the benefits of connecting with friends and family via Facebook. Tablet devices have made that much easier to do.
While the opportunities for feeling connected that Facebook and other social media channels provide is important, so too is the need to protect your identity and safety.
If you or an older adult you love have joined Facebook, here’s what you should know to stay safe.
Facebook Safety Tips for Older Adults
- Utilize Security Settings: Begin by reviewing Facebook’s Basic Privacy Settings and Tools. This allows you to control who sees your profile and postings. In most cases, you will want to restrict access to only your friends.
- Limit Sharing: While you might notice many of your Facebook friends checking in at restaurants, concerts and parks or sharing photos from a vacation they are enjoying, this isn’t such a great practice to adopt. Publicizing when you will be away from home or where you are can make you a target. Wait until you return home to share your photos with friends on Facebook.
- Strong Password: As is important for any online site, use a strong password with your account. A good rule of thumb for passwords is not to use the same one on every account. Instead, create a new one that is at least eight characters in length and includes upper and lower case letters and numbers.
- Unknown Friend Requests: Don’t accept friend requests from people you don’t know. Scammers use social media sites to search for people they suspect are lonely and looking to make friends. They often target seniors. It is best to stick to accepting friend requests only from people you already know.
- Link Baiting Articles: While Facebook has been able to eliminate many of the articles that are linked to less than scrupulous websites, they are still out there! Exercise caution when clicking on links from people you don’t know or links promoting a product that seems too good to be true. These may contain a virus or be an attempt to steal your identity.
Socially Savvy Seniors
Because the interest is so great, AARP created a Social Media Education Center. You can use it to learn more about Facebook, Pinterest, Google + and Twitter. And if you’ve been kicking around the idea of starting your very own blog, you can find help getting started there too.
The next time you log on to Facebook, be sure to find and “Like” our page. We share lots of great resources for adults enjoying their 3rd Act in life!