From computers to smartphones and tablets, technology is ubiquitous. And it can be quite overwhelming, especially for the seniors, many of who have been introduced to it only recently. They constantly have to learn new digital skills to keep up with the society, something that may not come to them very naturally. At the same time, it need not be an uphill task.
With 10,000 Americans turning 65 daily, a trend expected to last for the next 17 years, the number of seniors using more tech devices is going to increase, as well. Join the party with our handy guide to the digital world, and tips to traverse it safely.
Why You Should Go Digital:
- Celebrate Your Independence: Online banking allows you to pay your bills virtually, and manage your finances without leaving the house. Shopping online lets you choose from millions of products after reading reviews and comparing prices, plus, you can always return the items if you’re not happy. Make your own vacation plans by booking hotels and airline tickets, or use smart apps to keep a track of your medication. There’s so much you can do online.
- Keep In Touch: Family, friends, old colleagues, they’re all easy to connect with, no matter where they are in the world. Share photos, update each other with the latest happenings, and have actual conversations using email, Facebook, Skype, Facetime, Google hangouts and other messaging programs. Being online makes it all very convenient. You could even start your own blog and share your wisdom with the world.
- Educate Yourself: You can explore reams of the latest research, studies and findings on health and diet, while you update old skills in any area of specialization, or even learn new skills by signing up for online courses. If you want to know something, chances are you can find out more on the internet using websites such as Dummies (for how-to guides on hundreds of topics).
- Be Entertained: The internet is chockablock with movies, literature, games, music, and information about socio-cultural events that are taking place offline. You can keep up with global events and the news, or connect with like-minded folks.
How To Surf Safely:
If you’re sufficiently convinced that going digital will do you good, there are a few things you need to remember:
- Keep track of all your passwords in a physical diary. While you should know by now not to use your spouse’s name, birthdate or pet’s names as passwords, you should also resist the urge to share your passwords with anyone, especially online.
- Avoid giving away personal information to strangers on social media sites, no matter how nice they seem, and be careful who you allow access to your photos and online profile.
- Only use your credit card on sites that you trust, and if you’re unsure, check that they’re registered with the Better Business Bureau. Don’t use your debit card, as it could wipe out all the money on your checking account, whereas fraudulent credit card charges don’t cost you anything.
- Always use virus protection and anti-spyware on your digital devices, each and every one of them.
While going digital has many advantages, it can be confusing, overwhelming and even addictive. If you have a doubt, ask family or friends for help, and visit websites such as Technology For Seniors Made Easy and Senior Net to learn about the different ways in which technology can enhance your life. There’s no shame in asking your little grandchild how to do something on your smartphone; keep an open mind and be willing to learn. You will be amazed at what the future holds.