If you’re one of the many adults who want to use technology to the fullest to connect with friends and family, and enjoy life, these technology tips for seniors are a must! A recent study found that about 42% of adults 65 and older own smartphones, a 133% increase since 2013, and 67% of older Americans use the internet, with half now having broadband in the home. Technology has developed so much that we can grocery shop online, connect to loved ones across the world, and even keep track of our health. To make the most of your technology, keep reading for our five essential technology tips for seniors.
When shopping online, posting on social media, and paying your bills, it can be tempting to use the same password for everything, but if hackers found your password, they could access all your private information.
Strong passwords forgo predictable patterns; try combining capital and regular letters, numbers, and symbols. To remember complex passwords, you could write them down in a password book, but that presents its own security risks. Consider installing a password app that can automatically fill in your password upon login, via browser add-ons or separate security software.
If you lead an active lifestyle, maintaining your smartphone’s battery power when you’re out and about is essential. Many apps can continue running on your smartphone in the background, even if they are not currently in use. This can drain battery power and potentially overheat the phone.
You can have your phone display a list of recently used apps that are all still running. Try to close them out at least once daily to avoid overloading your phone. Check your phone’s browser tabs for the same reason, closing any unneeded tabs.
Multi-Factor Authentication is one of the most useful technology tips for seniors since it is one of the simplest ways to protect your privacy. For example, after logging into a website or app with your username and password, you may be required to enter a code sent to your email or texted to your phone; this is multi-factor authentication. Having another private way to confirm your identity helps prevent hackers from getting access to your information.
Make sure the backup email is one only you can access. When entering a phone number, make sure it is a number that can receive text messages since websites can send you a private code through text to access your account. Research other authentication methods by looking at your phone settings. Many newer phones include the ability to unlock through fingerprint or facial scan.
One of the most fun ways we use technology is to share photos with family and friends. While phones can hold more photos now than ever before, it’s still possible to lose them. You can prevent losing those precious memories by backing up photos on a weekly or monthly basis. You can do this physically by connecting your phone to your personal computer, or by saving pictures in the cloud.
Cloud services like Dropbox and Google Drive make it easy to upload pictures to an app on your phone and access them on other devices without the hassle of transferring them. With some services, you can even set up your photos to back up to the cloud automatically.
While the internet is full of intriguing opportunities, it is always important to be cautious, just as in real life. Cybercriminals may place a virus-imbedded link on a website or mimic trusted names in text messages or email. Via “phishing,” the criminals bait victims into giving up secure details.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has many tips and tricks with how to keep yourself safe online and keep your information protected. Their guide to spotting scam emails or text messages advises all internet users to keep an eye on emails from even trusted names, since scammers often disguise themselves as companies you know.
For example, you may receive an email stating there is a problem with your account or you need to click a link to make a payment, even including a fake invoice. If you are not sure an email is legitimate, call the customer service number on the company’s official website to check. The FTC also includes sources on what to do if you suspect you have fallen for one of these scams.
Also when visiting a website, even when it looks official, to check that the connection is secure and the certificate is valid, particularly before entering any personal information.
Beyond cybersecurity concerns, you are also likely to run into false claims or misinformation on the internet. A good rule of thumb for information on the internet is, “If it sounds too good (or even too bad) to be true, it probably is.
There are some signs to look out for to determine if a website is a credible source of information. The look of the site is one of the most obvious. If the website format is newer, it’s likely better updated with relevant information. If it is an older format, it may be a red flag that the site is not well funded, irrelevant, or trying to trick seniors into trusting it. When trying to fact-check information, look for at least three reliable sources that state that same fact with research to back it up.
If you’re unsure about the information on a website, check the end of the website’s domain name. When looking for reliable factual information, look for domains like “.gov” and “.edu.” These domains have different requirements of use, and are more likely to have experts backing up the website’s claims.
Technology constantly updates and evolves, but that doesn’t mean you will fall behind. If you are flexible and open to change, technology will help you stay connected, and Upside is all about fostering that connection. Our blog is full of useful articles about this exciting new phase of your life, while you make new friends and build your ideal lifestyle!
Upside seeks to reinvent senior living through our luxurious mixed-age apartment communities for independent seniors to live on their terms. If you’re interested in upgrading your living situation, contact us today for more information.
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