How to Help a Senior Loved One Stay Safe on Facebook

Sunrise Senior Living  |  January 9, 2019
How to Help a Senior Loved One Stay Safe on Facebook
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When Facebook was launched in 2004, the goal was to help students at Harvard connect with one another. It quickly spread to college campuses across the country.

Today, the demographic profile of an average Facebook user is getting older. In fact, researchers say seniors continue to be one of the fastest growing groups on Facebook. For good reason, too.

Social media allows seniors to stay engaged with friends and family members—including those who live far away. But, there are also safety concerns that you need to be aware of. Older adults might not be familiar with common scams on social media sites or know how to use privacy settings to protect their profile.

What can you do to help seniors enjoy their time on Facebook while staying safe?

We have a few tips you can use to teach them about potential Facebook scams and safety issues.

5 Facebook Safety Tips to Share with Older Adults

  1. Set a strong password: To keep their account secure, make sure the older adults in your life set up their accounts with a very strong password. It should be a combination of numbers, letters, and characters. Remind them not to use their pet’s name or their grandchild’s birthdate.
  2. Use privacy settings: Because it can seem like Facebook is a safe space to chat with friends, seniors might not be aware of the number of scams out there. Unfortunately, older adults are a frequent target. Show your senior loved one how to use the privacy settings, including the blocking feature. The safest bet is to allow only friends to see their posts.
  3. Stranger danger: It’s also important to discourage your older family members from accepting friend requests from strangers and to be cautious of personal messages. Both can put them at risk. Scammers target seniors on Facebook in an effort to steal their identity and their money. A good rule of thumb is to only accept friend requests from people you know offline.
  4. Post with caution: Though it’s common to post pictures of a family celebration or vacation fun as it occurs, keep in mind that this indicates to criminals that no one is home. While no one likes to think a Facebook friend will take advantage of them, it happens. This is especially true if you use “check-in” options at local restaurants and sites. Encourage your older loved ones to wait until they are back home to share photos.
  5. Watch the clicks: Facebook has struggled with fake accounts in recent years. Many are publishing significant amounts of content on the platform every day. Clicking on random links and sites like those can put the senior at risk for everything from viruses to fraud. Caution your family member to limit their clicks to sites that are credible and familiar. When in doubt, don’t click.

Live With Purpose at Sunrise                       

At Sunrise communities, we have eight signature programs designed to help our residents Live With Purpose. One of them is Live With Learning. These classes allow residents to continue to learn and grow. In many of our communities, that includes computer classes. Watch this video to learn more!

Residents can learn how to navigate the internet, send and receive emails, and safely explore social media. Call the Sunrise Senior Living community nearest you to learn more!