Did you know seniors can benefit from engaging on social media? Here’s 12 tips to help them get started on Facebook today! Share with your friends and family today
Is your parent or senior loved one afraid of computers and social media? Here’s 12 tips to help them get started on Facebook today! Share with your friends and family today
12 Essential Tips to Help Senior Loved Ones Get Started on Facebook
More and more seniors use social media – particularly Facebook – to stay connected with family and friends. But making that initial jump into the world of Facebook can be challenging and overwhelming, especially for a senior who isn’t the most tech-savvy.
Let’s break the process down into some easy steps that you can take to help your loved one get started on Facebook.
Set Up a Profile with Privacy in Mind
Privacy is a major safety issue on social media. It’s important that you sit down with your loved one and help them create a profile. As you create the profile, pay careful attention to the following privacy settings.
Help your loved one set up a secure password that they can remember, and encourage them not to share the password with anyone. In choosing a password, remind your loved one that easy-to-guess passwords like birthdates and pet names aren’t terribly secure and may leave their account vulnerable to hacking. Make sure that the profile is linked with an active email account so that your loved one may request a password reset if they ever forget their password.
Post Privacy Settings
The post privacy settings for your loved one’s account are some of the most important privacy settings. As a rule of thumb, it’s generally best to choose the tightest Facebook privacy settings possible. Always restrict the users who can view the content your loved one posts to only those users who are friends with your loved one’s profile. This simple setting can help to prevent strangers from commenting on posts and sharing photos that your loved one may not want shared. Don’t forget to also turn off geographic or location tracking on your loved one’s account.
When and where possible, restrict users from messaging your loved one unless they have already been accepted as a friend or connection by your loved one. This setting reduces strangers’ ability to contact your loved one, helping to prevent your loved one from falling victim to scams or trolls.
Go Over Basic Social Media and Facebook Etiquette
If your loved one is new to social media, they will probably be unfamiliar with basic social media etiquette. It may be worth sitting down with your loved one and helping them to explore and navigate the social media platform that they have chosen. Facebook proves to be a highly popular option when staying connected with family, thanks to its photo and video sharing features and the ability to keep connections limited to a small group of family and friends. However, other platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest may also appeal to your loved one, depending on whether they use a smartphone.
While each social media platform has its different styling and use options, there are some general etiquette rules which apply across all of the platforms:
Treat all information as public information
It’s important for seniors to realize that even though they may think that their post or photo will only be shared with their family on social media, all information posted has the potential to go public. Even if your loved one’s privacy settings are set up to be as secure as possible, the capabilities of screenshots and shares by their friends and followers can quickly make this information go public. Stress to your loved one that they should only post information and photos which they are comfortable sharing with the general public.
Use private messaging and email options
Along the lines of protecting private information, be sure that your loved one is familiar with the private messaging options available on some social media platforms, like Facebook. Encourage your loved one to use private messaging or email if they want to have conversations with a particular person, rather than conducting these conversations through wall posts or comments on posts.
Never share financial or private information
Remind your loved one that social media uses the internet, and because of security issues they should never share financial or private information on social media, even through email or private messaging.
Understand that emotion and inflection are lost through writing
Discuss how the written word can be misinterpreted on social media. Remind your loved one that important aspects of conversation, such as emotion and inflection, are lost through writing. Advise your loved one to read over everything that they have written to make sure that their message is clear before actually posting the content.
Avoid writing in all capitals
Many people who are new to social media make the mistake of writing posts IN ALL CAPS. Tell your loved one that most people use all caps to signify yelling, so a post written in all caps will be interpreted as being written by someone who is very angry. Similarly, talk about some general rules for posting, such as using punctuation and separating longer posts by using paragraphs for easier reading.
Setting Your Loved One Up for Social Media Success
The world of social media can be a bit overwhelming and confusing, especially if you’re new to it. Schedule multiple times to sit down with your loved one to show them the basic function of Facebook, such as how to send a message and how to reply to a post. If your loved one would like to get involved with social media, then the more guidance you can provide to them, the better.