Using social media is a growing trend among seniors. These platforms can be wonderful places for seniors to keep up with distant family members, engage with like-minded people, stave off loneliness, and reconnect with old friends.
But before getting started, here are some tips for using social media effectively and safely.
1. Manage privacy settings — Many social media platforms like Facebook default new accounts to sharing mode, says PC Mag. Before you start networking, delve into the privacy settings so you can control who sees your content. Using defined groups is a good way to share things with only a subset of your circle.
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2. Be selective — The safest way to use social media is to engage only with people you personally know. Avoid accepting friend requests from strangers. According to Senior Net, identity thieves and hackers may try to connect with you hoping to get personal information.
3. Assume all posts are permanent — If you have second thoughts about a post, you can easily delete photos and posts from your page. However, Senior Net cautions that the moment you post something, it can easily be printed by someone or saved to someone else’s computer, so think carefully before posting.
4. Ask permission first — You might be proud of your granddaughter’s wedding photos, but ask her first before sharing them with your social network. Some people are particular about their privacy, says Sherish, and they will not appreciate having their photos online, no matter how innocent your intentions.
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5. Watch your comments — Sherish advises steering clear of comments that might embarrass or offend your social circle, particularly teenage grandchildren. Unless you are certain of what they are conveying in their posts, ill-advised critical or funny comments can be awkward or even damaging to your relationship.
6. Use caution with links and attachments — Some links can contain viruses that can harm your computer, says Senior Net. If you don’t know the person who sent you the link or it looks suspicious, don’t click.
7. Don’t share your location — PC Mag reminds anyone using social media that announcing online that you are on vacation invites burglars. While it may be tempting to share highlights of your adventures in real time, wait until you return home to do so instead.
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