How to help your parents make the most of the internet

Sunrise Senior Living  |  August 30, 2016

Help your parents use the internet to its fullest potential.

Between shopping, doing research and connecting with friends and family, you know that the internet makes completing everyday tasks very simple. But are your aging parents getting similar value from the web? They might have a computer set up at home, but are they comfortable accessing everything the internet has to offer? Consider brushing them up on the ins and outs of the World Wide Web and teaching them how to use it to its fullest potential. 

They'll find that browsing the internet on a regular basis can be beneficial in social, educational and informational aspects, which, according to the The Huffington Post, can promote healthy aging and improve their overall well-being.

Here are six ways you or your children can help your parents get the most out of the internet:

1. Experiment with different devices
It's likely that your parents have a computer, but there are other devices that can be used for internet browsing. According to The Telegraph, more seniors are inclined to use a tablet over a traditional computer for portability, convenience and comfort. A smartphone is another useful handheld device you might consider.

2. Teach them the importance of cyber security
While internet is a convenient and valuable resource for entertainment and keeping in touch with family, clicking one wrong link or ad could lead to a scam or system crash. Teach your parents to avoid reading emails out of the spam folder in their inbox and to ignore pop-ups while they're browsing the web. This can reduce their chance of becoming victims of fraud and receiving a virus on their computer.

3. Get them on Facebook
You've been connecting with friends and family for years on Facebook, so why not help your parents join? In a recent survey conducted by Penn State, adults between the age of 60 and 86 who joined the popular social media site found that it's a great way to bond with old friends, stay up-to-date with family members and even develop new friendships with like-minded people they found through mutual acquaintances.

4. Encourage use of an email account
Some of your parents' friends might not be on Facebook yet, so encourage your parents to keep using their email accounts. This offers another way for them to write to their old friends and keep in contact with family members when they're not available over the phone.

5. Motivate them to browse their interests
The internet is a gold mine for recipes, games, music and entertainment, so encourage your parents to download a few apps! For instance, if your mother loves reading and crossword puzzles, she might enjoy the following apps: Goodreads, Words With Friends and Magnifying Glass.

6. Teach them to keep the desktop organized
A messy desktop can slow down the computer and keep your parents from connecting to the internet efficiently. Teach them to keep it clean by organizing the icons and moving unnecessary documents and clip notes to the recycle bin on a weekly basis.