Top 4 Hints to Make Social Media Safe for the Elderly

old couple taking a selfie

Social Media has become a big part of our lives both personally and professionally. At first it was just young people who were glued to their smart phones, but now the largest growing group new to social media is the elderly. They have found they can stay in almost instantaneous contact with family and friends. They especially enjoy making contact with friends they have not talked to in years. All this is great to keep elderly connected with the world, but is social media safe? If used properly; yes. If not, social media can be far from it.

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google Plus are the primary social media platforms. Facebook is the most popular so we will focus on it. Here the top 4 tips for safer posts.

1: Remember when a stack of newspapers in the driveway was the signal for bad guys to rob houses? The newspapers have been replaced by people advertising that they are not home and depending on their location, will not be home for days or weeks. Elderly like to travel and when they do they like to post were they are, who they are with and what they are doing. Never do this! There is nothing wrong with posting vacations as long as it is done after returning home stating “Look at the great vacation we HAD”. Stay away from Facebook’s “Checking In” also. This is where people can post a location with a map of where they are at any time, usually something like lunch with friends which notifies burglars they still have just enough time for a quick robbery.

2: The internet is forever and this goes for Facebook. People often regret what they previously posted on Facebook and delete their posts the next day. This can be too late. If a post was shared or even worse, made its way to a website it is now forever on the world-wide web. Rule of thumb….only make posts you are comfortable having your children seeing.

3: Elderly especially like posts of their grandchildren. They like to post after post of where they are, what they are doing, favorite meals, favorite toys and so on. Posting all this can be very dangerous to the kids. If the posts only show the children without adults bad guys can get the impression there is no one there to protect these kids. Often posts reveal their locations. Check your phone GPS settings and disable them for pictures. Degenerate people can identify where the image was taken including which room of the house is the nursery.

4: When creating a Facebook page elderly should do so as if an identity theif is looking over their shoulder, which technically they are. If you think about what is needed for identity theft, a lot of the information can be found on a Facebook page. There is no truth detector on Facebook. If you have a nickname, us it. Be careful about using your full name and or maiden name. Shave a few years off your age. Change you birthdate to outwit nefarious people. These four hints may focuse on safe posting for the elderly, but they are good hints for anyone new to social media. When followed, social media can be fun and safe.

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