7 Social Media Safety Tips for Seniors
More and more seniors use social media to stay connected with family and friends. Unfortunately, social media brings risks, especially if a user isn’t familiar with privacy settings, trolls, and scams.
If a senior loved one in your life is active or is learning about social media, these tips can help him or her to stay safe on the various social media platforms.
Choose Appropriate Privacy Settings
It’s a good idea to go over a senior’s social media privacy settings with them. Some seniors don’t understand what the different privacy settings mean, or why they may be appropriate. We cover that information in detail in our blog post, How to Help a Senior Get Started on Facebook. Be sure to visit the blog for important tips.
Look Out for Fake Profiles and Scams
Make sure that your loved one is aware that some people create fake profiles using the photos and information of people with actual profiles. Encourage your loved one to never connect with more than one profile of a single person; this is usually a sign that one of these profiles is a fake.
You’ll also want to talk a bit about trolls. Trolls, or people who create fake profiles to stir up trouble and aggravation, tend to be present in groups and discussion forums. Remind your loved one to only connect with people they actually know on social media; this step can help to avoid trolls.
It’s also a good idea to review current popular online scams with your loved one. Remind them that if there is ever truly an emergency, someone will contact them by phone or in person – not through social media. Talk about how people may pose as loved ones to ask for money, or how people may post fake stories and ask for donations to help them out of tough situations. If possible, ask your loved one to agree to discuss any such situation they encounter through social media with you, so you can help them screen for scams.
Actions to Take If Your Account Has Been Hacked
If your loved one’s account is ever hacked, then you may need to help them restore their access. There are a few steps you can take in this situation.
Link the account to a valid email
When your loved one first sets up an account, make sure that they link the account to a valid email account. It may be a good idea if you have access to this email account, or that you make sure the email account’s login information is stored somewhere safe.
Request a new password
Once you learn that the social media account is hacked, the first step will be to request a new password. As long as the hacker hasn’t reset the email associated with the account, requesting a password reset can lock the hacker out and restore your access to the account. Once the link to reset the password is sent to the associated email account, make sure you choose a new password which is significantly varies from the old one.
Alert account connections
If a hacker posted or sent messages from your loved one’s account, it’s always a good idea to reach out to your loved one’s social media connections to let them know that the account had been hacked. This way friends and family will know to disregard strange messages and to protect their own accounts.
Social media can be a powerful tool for keeping seniors connected with their families and friends, but it’s important to understand the various dangers that come with being active on social media. The more that you can discuss these risks with a senior, the better prepared they’ll be to stay safe on social media.