As our world continually transitions to more of a digital platform, it’s important to be aware of potential virtual hazards and how to avoid them. This is true for people of all ages. While society tends to focus on teaching children and teens how to stay safe online, we at Aspire Home Health and Hospice recognize that many seniors are also learning about certain technologies for the first time, and we believe it’s extremely important for those in their golden years to stay safe online as well.
Below are some tips for staying safe online and when communicating via technology:
- Never give out credit card or personal information online unless it is through a trusted and verified source (such as certain trusted online shopping centers or banks). If someone calls you on the phone asking for credit card information, do not give it to them. They could be a scammer and you could lose a lot of money. Only give personal information over the phone if you called the company at a phone number you know belongs to them.
- Don’t post any personal information publicly online. This includes things such as your address, email address or mobile number.
- Think carefully before posting pictures or videos of yourself or others. Once you’ve put a picture up online, others can see it and download it. It’s not just yours anymore.
- Keep your privacy settings high.
- Never give out your usernames or passwords.
- Don’t befriend people on social media or let people follow you who you don’t know in real life.
- Don’t agree to meet up with people you’ve met online. Rare exceptions could be if you met someone on a trusted online dating site. In all cases, it’s always best to go with your gut feeling.
- If you see something online that makes you feel unsafe, uncomfortable, or worried, leave the website, turn off your computer, talk with a friend, or do whatever you need to do to regain peace of mind.
- Remember that not everyone online is who they say they are.
- Think carefully about what you say before you post something online. Many people say things online that they would never say to someone face to face. Respect other people’s views, even if you don’t agree with them.
By following these guidelines, your online experience should be a positive one. It’s important to remember that although there are things to watch out for, there are also many positive and wonderful elements of the online experience—such as furthering your education, connecting with long lost friends and relatives via email and social media, or being able to conduct business more quickly and efficiently.