Online Safety Basics for Seniors

By: Dave Carter

In this day and age, the internet has become more of a lifestyle than a basic necessity or trend for most people. In fact, you can safely say that there isnít a person around the world who hasn't gone online or at least knows how to go online, even if they live in the farthest or most remote places. There isn't a place that cyberspace cannot reach and as such, it has become equally important to learn how to use the internet.

Among those originally perceived to have difficulties with the internet were senior citizens but as recent surveys and studies show, more and more seniors are embracing the digital age every year. Most of those aged 65 and older often go online to check their emails, pay their bills or socialize with their family and friends. Furthermore, the studies show that almost 70 percent go online on a daily basis which further proves how much the internet has become an indispensible part of our lives.

However, even if you're not a senior citizen, you can also become a victim of the many fiddles that proliferate all over the net and tech-savvy as you may be, there are still some swindlers who manage to succeed and unfortunately, target senior citizens the most. This is because they think that older people are easier to fool and hoodwink which is why they often tailor their plans to cater to what they think senior citizens will fall for.

Most of these fiddle artists use email or social media messages to get their victims' attention. Seniors should be wary of emails that claim they are a winner of an online contest or messages that say they qualify for medication discounts and other "you-can't-miss-this" deals. Some of these emails may also look like they came from official government sites or even those of friends and family but in truth, they are just bogus websites or that their friends' and families accounts have been hacked.

The worst part is, there are also those that engage in cyber bullying, targeting senior citizens in particular. Cyber bullying of seniors can come in many forms but the most common ones being reported include emotional abuse with threats, accusations and comments that are intended to belittle the recipient and those that fool seniors into giving their bank account or credit card numbers so that the perpetrators can steal money.

Whether you are a senior or part of the younger generation that knows the internet like the back of their hand, you should exercise caution and always be aware whenever you go online. Here are some tips on how you can do just that:

Update all software

The need to keep a clean machine is important to protect yourself and your elderly relatives from swindlers. Update all software and have the latest security software as well as the latest operating systems installed and make sure you tick the auto-update features of each. If you have a wireless network connection, make sure your passwords are secured.

Connect carefully

When you do online banking or paying bills, make sure you enter your information in security-enabled sites which are ones that usually begin with https. The last "s" is an indication that the data is going to be encrypted in transit so no one gets to access your information without your authorization.

Links shminks

There will always be emails that persuade you to click this and click that. When in doubt delete these emails or throw away the links. If you have precious data, pictures and other files that you want to protect, you can always store them on a backup drive or online cloud.

Protect your personal information

Remember that banks will not ask for personal information so be careful about email requests that ask you to confirm or update such information. You must also be cautious about personal information you post on social media sites like birth dates as these can be used to for identity theft. Learn all about privacy settings and be careful about who you share information with.

While going online enables you to pass the time and perform tasks efficiently and quickly, remember that you shouldn't always feel to confident that no one else knows about what you do in cyberspace. Protect yourself and try to learn as much about internet safety as you can because it's always better to be safe than sorry.

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Having a good time online means worry and stress-free surfing. Try checking this for information on how you can have fun online and be safe at the same time.

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