How to Keep a Senior You Love Safe on Facebook

October 16, 2017

Safety on Facebook

More seniors are on Facebook these days. Here’s how you can help a senior loved one avoid the common social media pitfalls.

Kids usually know their parents are on Facebook and probably have been for years. But now there’s a good chance that their grandparents will be sending them a ‘friend’ request, too. According to a Pew Research Center survey, almost half of all seniors are active on social networking sites like Facebook.

That’s great news for seniors. Social media can help older adults feel connected and engaged with friends and family. The down side is that an increasing amount of scammers and con artists are using these types of platforms to find victims.

Facebook Isn’t Always Safe

From phishing scams to privacy issues, there’s a veritable minefield of dangers to watch out for on social media. Teaching senior loved ones how to stay safe online will allow them to continue connecting with friends. Whether it’s keeping in touch with faraway friends or viewing pictures of grandchildren and other family members, seniors love Facebook!

But adult children and family caregivers need to take steps to ensure their senior loved ones stay safe on social media.

Here’s what you can do to keep your loved one from falling prey to a scammer, hacker, or data thief.

Helping Your Senior Loved One Stay Safe on Facebook

Use these tips to help an older American stay safe on Facebook.

  1. Be Selective When it Comes to Making ‘Friends’

It’s tempting to accept every friend request you receive but the fact is, not everyone is a friend. Your senior loved one should be discouraged from accepting friend requests from people they don’t know offline.

  1. Take Advantage of Privacy Controls

The personal information you make public on Facebook can put you at risk. Make sure your senior loved one isn’t revealing too much to the general public. Snoopers are everywhere, looking for exactly this type of data.

Help your loved one by logging in together and reviewing the privacy settings on their account. Restrict public access to information about them as well as to their photos and profile.

  1. Use a Strong Password

This may seem obvious to you, but older adults likely have a different notion of what ‘strong’ means when it comes to passwords. Help them establish truly strong passwords on each social media and email account they have. Use caps, small letters, numbers, and symbols and avoid including any real words.

  1. Be Wary of Messages from Strangers

If a senior receives a private message on Facebook from someone they don’t know, it could be a scammer. Encourage them ignore all these types of messages. Remind them this is good practice for email, too.

  1. Be Picky About What Gets Clicked

Clicking on a link in a Facebook status update often takes you to a website. Sometimes these types of sites are risky. Even clicking on a link can cause malware to download. Make sure your senior loved one understands to be conservative when clicking around on Facebook.

  1. Don’t Be Afraid to Block People

If your loved one no longer wants to see updates from a particular user on Facebook, assure them it’s OK to block that person. This effectively makes it impossible for that person to see your loved one’s posts, too. And best of all, they can’t contact your loved one by private messaging.

Legacy Senior Living Has Lots More Tips Like This

If you learned something here today, we’re glad we could help. Visit our blog often to discover what else we’re doing to help connect caregivers, seniors, and their families with the resources they need.

And if you’re interested in assisted living, independent living or memory care for a senior loved one, we hope you’ll contact the Legacy Senior Living community nearest you or call us at (423) 478-8071.  We’ll be happy to help!