How to Keep Safe on Social Media for Watford Seniors

Join us for another Home Instead guide. Today, we are sharing how to stay safe on social media.

Most people have some form of social platform access these days, and if your loved one uses socials regularly, you’ll want to consider how to stay safe.

In this guide, we’ll share some essential tips and our favourite senior-friendly social media platforms for staying connected.

Keep safe on social media: Tips for our Watford Home Care and Live-in Care clients.

Keeping safe on social media is essential these days. We are all too aware that some unscrupulous people are looking to hack into and use our accounts. Here are our essential online safety tips for seniors when using social media.

  1. Protect your personal information – Be careful how much information you share online. Don’t give anyone your personal or contact details; never respond to anyone asking for bank details, even if they are friends or family.

  2. Use strong passwords – Create strong passwords unique to you for all your social accounts and change them regularly. Store your final passwords in a password manager program so you don’t have to remember them.

  3. Be cautious of phishing scams – Do not click on links or attachments from people you do not know. Scammers often use social media to steal personal information. Also, be aware of any family and friends sending links or strangely structured emails (misspellings are a big clue here), as these could also be hackers pretending to be loved ones.

  4. Set up strong privacy settings and multi-factor authentication – Always adjust your privacy settings to control who sees your personal information and shared posts. Safeguard your social accounts further with double-factor authentication to avoid hackers guessing your passwords and gaining access.

  5. Think before you post – Before posting anything on social media, consider how much information you are giving away. Remember, it isn’t just your family watching; everyone can see what you post and the data you choose to share.

  6. Be wary of all friend requests – Only accept friend requests from people you know with correct spellings and current pictures. Scammers often create fake profiles to access personal information, including pretending to be someone you may know. If you are unsure, either delete the request or wait until you see the person to ask them if the account is theirs.

  7. Report suspicious behaviour – If you notice anything suspicious on social media, particularly concerning your account, report it immediately to the platform’s support team.
online security sign in window for a user

Our favourite senior-friendly social media platforms

We sincerely hope we haven’t put you off at this point because social media can be an excellent tool for helping seniors stay connected with family and friends.

Some of our favourite platforms:

  • Facebook is easy to interact with; you can make video calls using Messenger, and it has many groups where you can meet like-minded people and discuss topics like hobbies. Most of our clients use it.

  • Instagram is a visual platform popular for sharing photos and videos. It also has a user-friendly interface.

  • YouTube is a video platform great for finding how-to videos or following video diaries of people with similar interests. It’s straightforward to use, and you don’t need to participate in the social aspect; you can watch it like TV!
  • While it’s not a social media platform, WhatsApp is also worth considering because it offers a free way to call and video chat with family and friends.

A mobile phone with social media platform icons displayed on the screen

Keep safe on social media: Our final tips for caregivers.

As a caregiver, you want your loved one to avoid loneliness, and social media can be an excellent tool for maintaining essential connections, especially during respite. But there are a few things to consider that will help Mum or Dad stay safer.

  1. Help them stay aware – Scammers often target seniors online, so educating them about common scams and how to avoid them is essential.

  2. Keep software up to date – Applying the latest updates to social apps, including security patches, keeps your loved one safer while they use the software.

  3. Encourage breaks – Everyone can get sucked into too much screen time. Encouraging regular breaks for other activities helps your loved one stay present and active.

  4. Show them how to use new features – Every so often, platforms release a new feature. If it helps your loved one stay connected, show them how to use it safely.

  5. Only use parental controls when you need to – No one likes to feel limited, but increased privacy settings and security controls can help your loved one stay safe in certain situations.

  6. Let your Home Care or Live-in Care Pro know about social media use. If you can’t be at home when your loved one uses social media but think they may need help setting up, say, a video call with friends or family, ask your care professional. Here at Home Instead, we help many clients stay connected through social media.
care professional and her client sitting using mobile phone

We have more senior-friendly guides available for you right here on the Home Instead website. Come and join us!