Technology has come a long way over the last century.
We’ve gone from horse and carriage to driverless cars; computers the size of houses to computers the size of your hand.
For many of us, technology has become an irreplaceable part of daily life.
The internet’s a prime example. 4.5 billion people around the world are now online. It’s hard for young people to imagine life without it.
But technology for seniors can be more of a mystery! Born in a different era, the rate of technological advance can feel hard to keep up with.
From newfound communities to familial interconnectedness, though, mastering the internet offers a host of potential benefits. Unfortunately, failing to understand its safe practice can lead to numerous difficulties too.
Getting longer in the tooth and searching for advice on using modern technology safely?Keep reading for 9 tips that’ll ensure you reap its rewards while remaining safe.
1. Be Sensible With Passwords
Passwords are to computers what door locks are to your house or car.
You wouldn’t leave the home or car unattended without locking them first. It’s just sensible! You know that doing so would leave them open to theft from unscrupulous outsiders.
Take the same approach with your tech devices and set strong passwords for each of them. Aim to make all of your passwords impossible for someone to guess!
Unfortunately, your birthday or pet’s name isn’t good enough! They should be long and include a combination of letters, digits, and symbols. Whatever you do, don’t share the password without anybody- even if you trust them.
Another sensible precaution is to use different passwords for separate devices and accounts. Furthermore, change each password regularly to ensure nobody can cotton on to them.
A final password-related step is to leverage what’s called multi-factor authentication.
This is when your accounts require a second password to gain entry. The first password delivers a code to a separate device. Only by retrieving that second code and inputting it will you gain access.
Home care can remain as mysterious as technology! Here’s our FAQ page to shine a light on some common queries we get.
2. Be Aware of Scams and Issues
Ignorance is your worst enemy when it comes to staying safe with technology.
That’s why it pays to educate yourself on the potential scams and problems out there.
Failing to do so is, as they say, like preparing to fail. Remember that knowledge is power; understanding the threat is a key step to avoiding it.
The bad news is that there are a plethora of threats out there. From malware and viruses to phishing and identity theft, technology can open the door to a wide range of issues. Worse, those threats are evolving all the time.
Staying on top of them all is no easy task. Here’s more info on the different types of scams and fraud you can come across.
3. Err On the Side of Caution
Online safety demands a cautious approach.
It’s hard to be aware of every potential threat. Similarly, the scams are getting far more advanced as time goes by. In the past, phishing emails, for example, were relatively easy to identify.
Now, though, the people sending them are utilizing advanced methodologies. It might even seem like you’ve received the message from a close friend. Trusting the address, you click the link and voila, open yourself up to an attack.
Avoid such eventualities by taking a ‘better safe than sorry’ approach to computers.
With your newfound knowledge of internet threats in mind, steer clear of any website or email that seems untrustworthy. Stick to websites you know to be authentic, never click on pop up ads, and ignore texts (on your phone) and emails from strange and unknown sources.
Doing so will help mitigate the threat that’s out there. You’ll enjoy a safer and happier internet experience in the process.
4. Never Input Sensitive Info (Especially on Public Devices)
There will be times when websites ask for your personal information. You’ll be buying something online, for instance, and need to input your bank details. Most of the time these sites are secure and trustworthy. Your personal details will be kept safely and in line with legal requirements.
However, as you can imagine, other sites are set up to abuse and exploit unwitting web users. The personal information you input will be used against you somehow; some people might even steal your identity! Take your cautionary approach one step further by inputting sensitive information only when you’re sure a site’s authentic. Research it first. Ask friends and family what they think, or whether they’ve heard of the site you’re using. If they haven’t, then think twice about proceeding.
It’s particularly important on public computers (i.e. those that other people use as well). Imagine inputting personal details on a library computer. If it saves them to a certain website, the next person who uses the computer could, in theory, end up accessing your accounts.
5. Utilize Internet Security
Internet security software is an essential component of using technology safely. Be sure to install it on both your computer and smartphone (if you use one). These days, there’s no excuse not to! You can find quality programs that are free to use.
Think of internet security as a vaccination you’d get before an exotic vacation. You don’t expect to get sick, but you get the injection anyway, just in case. In this way, it’s a precautionary step that can make a world of difference. The vaccination protects your health; internet security protects your computer. You never know when it’ll come in handy. Despite the sensible steps you take to avoid strange emails, websites and so on, you’re sure to make a mistake at some point. It’s to be expected given the mass of threats out there.
Internet security works as a back-up in these moments. Some programs can even warn you of harm in advance. Don’t hesitate, pay for and download your internet security as soon as possible.
Here’s more information on the latest cybersecurity trends.
6. Back-Up Your Files
Imagine having a decade of photos and files saved to your computer. One day, disaster strikes and you get a computer virus, or your device just stops working. In one fell swoop, you can lose everything you’d had saved.
Backing up your files is a crucial part of sensible technological practice. In other words, you want to save your things in multiple places. Save a copy to a USB stick, to the cloud, or to an external hard-drive. In so doing, you create a ‘back-up’ in case of an emergency.
7. Update Devices
Keeping all devices updated is another important part of cybersecurity. Now, this might be a confusing concept to anybody new to modern technology. Allow us to explain what it means.
Basically, computers, smartphones, and tablets all come with pre-programmed software. As time goes by, the company that created the device will update it to a newer version. They do this for numerous reasons.
For instance, the first version might have they need to correct, a security flaw to address, or helpful new features to add. They amend the software and give you the option to update your device to use the latest version. We highly recommend you accept.
The new software is often created to plug a gap in security. Thus, outdated versions are far more likely to have security flaws. There should be a setting on your devices to allow automatic updates. Granting automatic updates means you’ll always have the latest software installed, protecting your device in the process.
8. Remember to Log Out!
Here’s a quick but important point: Make sure you log out after signing into a particular device or website. Again, this is particularly important when you’ve been on a public computer. If passwords are like door locks, then failing to log out is like leaving your door wide open!
Anybody has the potential to enter that device and misuse your account. They could end up stealing your personal information, using your accounts to purchase items for themselves, and so on. It’s a recipe for disaster.
Make every effort to remember to log out. To help, set your devices to lock themselves when left unused for a certain length of time. That should limit the damage somebody can do (assuming that your password’s strong enough to keep them out!).
9. Seek Help When Unsure
Last but not least, think about seeking support with any and all technological uncertainties. Getting up to speed with technology can seem impossible when it advances at such a frightening rate. Calling upon the assistance of someone more knowledgeable is one way to speed up your learning. They might also be able to solve any problems you’re having. Think about taking a course, or asking friends and family for help.
Looking for other forms of care support? Here are some specialty services we offer.
Time to Make Technology for Seniors Safer
Mastering modern technology is a daunting prospect for many older individuals. Frankly, with the developments of recent times, it can seem a complete mystery! Getting to grips with it offers a host of huge advantages though. From connecting with family and reducing levels of isolation, to seeking medical support in an emergency, technology for seniors can have a positive impact.
Unfortunately, it also comes with hazards. Hopefully, the information in this post will help you steer clear of the issues, and revel in the benefits on offer.
Are you looking for further support with your care? Contact us today to see how we can be of assistance.