Seniors Surfing Safely

Thanks to today’s technological advances and the relative ease of getting online, we are able to learn new things instantly, check for random weather changes, re-connect with old friends, and check our bank account statements all in the comfort of our own homes.

For many seniors, avoiding the computer isn’t an option and they don’t seem bothered with the technical details of a computer. They dive right in to master tasks such as saving and printing a document, receiving an email and browsing the World Wide Web. Seniors have discovered that this ‘new’ technology is able to enhance and simplify their lives.

Be Aware of Online Fraud and Scams

These days not only do seniors do their banking and manage their finances on the net, play games and make purchases, some have become bolder and have searched for a potential mate online. There are plenty of online dating services geared specifically towards senior citizens.

But what about seniors who are newbies to or wary of the online experience? After all, seniors didn’t grow up with this technology and aren’t fully aware of online scams, fraud, identity theft and spam that will soon be a part of their lives.

Seniors many times aren’t aware of the fact that you shouldn’t be giving out your home phone number and street address to just anyone you encounter online. For seniors it may seem as harmless as giving a business card to someone, but on the Internet it can come with unpleasant consequences. Be wary of email offers of free gifts, free getaways and discount prescriptions.

Protecting Yourself and Your Loved Ones from the Dangers of the Web

Here are some simple but effective Internet safety tips for seniors that will protect them against online threats. Go over them with your parent(s) or loved ones to make sure they understand them.

In fact, these basic precautionary measures will benefit anyone who uses the computer.

  • Make sure the computer has security software installed. Also check that the auto-update feature is enabled to ensure your computer has the most up-to-date security
  • Passwords need to be unique and strong. Use upper and lower case letters as well as numbers. Never reveal your password to anyone online. None of your social media networks of email services will ever ask you in an email for your password.
  • Post with caution on social networking sites. It is a good idea to also understand exactly how the privacy settings work on and social media network you use.
  • Don’t automatically install a software just because it is free. These types of software are usually riddled with spyware which can slow or even crash your computer.
  • Attachments can contain a virus. The virus can be transmitted to your computer as soon as you open it. Be wary of suspect attachments, even from people you know well. Be overly cautious, if need be. If an email or attachment seems suspicious, don’t open it. Scammers often use e-mail to get personal information from you in order to steal your identity. Sometimes these emails invite you to click a link which then downloads malware onto your computer.
  • Although online banking is very convenient for seniors, make sure they only use security-enabled sites. For instance  sites whose address begins with “https://“ means that the data is encrypted in transit. Always check for this. Do not enter any bank details or credit card information into websites whose address begins with “http://.”
  • Emotional abuse is as rife online as it is elsewhere. It is best not to respond. It give the abuser exactly what they want

By Pavla Pelikánová (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Don’t Venture Onto the Internet Without Precautionary Measures

The Internet holds the same enormous benefits for seniors as it does for everyone else, but even though the Internet is a useful tool, there are dangers involved with being online. If you are a seasoned Internet surfer, do your best to inform your loved ones and help them cope with the risks associated with the Internet. They need to use it wisely to ensure it remains an exciting medium of communication for them.