Social media platforms are a fun way for families to keep in touch, no matter where they live. Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, and others allow people to share information and updates quickly with their followers. Despite the idea that older adults aren’t tech savvy, seniors are finding social media sites, especially Facebook, to be user-friendly.
Pew Research Center says that 69 percent of adults aged 50–64 and 40 percent of adults 65+ are on some form of social media regularly. If you are hoping to join them as a means of connecting with the younger generation of your family, we have a few tips for you to review first.
Interacting With the Younger Generation on
Don’t embarrass them: This is something kids fear most when a parent or grandparent sends them a request to connect online. While you might have a favorite baby photo of them that you keep framed on the wall, they may not appreciate having you post it and tag them on Facebook. Think through what you post about them on social media.
Don’t over-comment: Seeing the younger people in the family interacting with friends online can make you feel more connected to their daily lives. You might be tempted to frequently comment on their posts. Try to resist that temptation and not intrude in . A simple thumbs up or a ‘Like’ on a post might be better.
Post your own stories and activities: Instead of trying to connect by commenting on the younger generation’s posts, share stories and activities you are engaged in. This gives them the opportunity to join your conversation and interact with you in their own way. For security reasons, though, remember not to post when you are on vacation or away from home.
Use privacy settings: This is important no matter who is looking to connect on social media. It’s essential for both your safety and those you are friends with on various platforms. Adjust each platform’s privacy settings to limit who can see and comment on your posts, tag you, and send you messages. You may want to check on these again every few months in case the platform makes any changes to how settings are controlled.
Use caution with personal information: If you do share photos of the younger generation on social media, be careful not to include identifiable information. Avoid using last names, schools, or addresses. That can put kids at risk if your account is hacked or otherwise shared.
Set strong passwords: Some social media accounts seemed to get hacked more than others, as do some people. Try to avoid being one of them by setting strong passwords. Experts say a combination of upper- and lowercase letters, numbers, and characters is best. This guide to setting strong passwords from the National Council on Aging might be helpful.
One last tip is not to forget to make real-life interactions a priority, too. Why Intergenerational Activities Matter has some great ideas for the older and younger generations to spend meaningful time together.