For senior citizens who grew up with limited technology, jumping head-first into high-tech devices can be frustrating and complex. That said, some elderly folks are taking the bull by the horns, utilizing technology to its fullest potential. Older communities have flocked to the smartphone, in particular, to browse the web, connect with loved ones, and track medications, among numerous other features.
However, with great power comes great responsibility, and seniors should be aware of the risks of smartphone usage. If your senior loved one has expressed interest in purchasing a modern mobile device, going over digital safety practices is necessary. Alternatively, for those elderly citizens who want the connectivity and convenience of a mobile phone without the complexities of a smartphone, consider purchasing a simple, senior-friendly alternative from Lively Direct.
If your senior loved one is ready to take the plunge into smartphone ownership, read through these safety tips to ensure responsible usage.
Keep your phone locked when not in use
The first step in securing your senior’s smartphone is helping them set up a unique passcode used to unlock their phone. While it may be tempting to forgo a password to avoid frustration at forgotten codes, it’s critical to keeping your loved one’s personal information safe.
Additionally, newer models often allow for facial or fingerprint identification, which means a passcode won’t be necessary regularly. Finally, ensure they write the information down, pick an easy-to-remember code, and keep the pattern private.
Be wary of phishing scams
Although smartphones allow seniors instant access to the internet, there are risks involved when browsing the web. Phishing schemes are common and persistent, and for ill-equipped seniors navigating digital avenues for the first time, falling victim to a scam can be detrimental. Instruct your elderly loved one to avoid clicking on links from unsolicited messengers, ignore unknown callers, and never give out personal information.
Only use verified applications
Depending on the smartphone your senior loved one selects, the applications available will differ. While there are limitless downloadable apps perfect for fitness tracking, gaming, and socializing, there are also unofficial programs that can potentially harm their device. Ensure they only install applications from official stores, read customer reviews, and report any suspicious content they encounter.
Utilize find-my-phone features
Modern smartphone devices usually feature find-my-phone applications that allow you to track your phone from a separate device using your account information. For forgetful seniors prone to misplacing their belongings, this function will enable them to track their phones easily, eliminating stressful searching.
Use a secure internet connection
Most smartphones automatically enable a feature that allows devices to connect to any available wifi network. While some people prefer this setting, it may be wise to disable automatic connection for your senior’s device. Allowing their smartphone to hook up to any wifi nearby increases the risk of viruses, malware, and scammers gaining access to their phone and personal information.
Simply go to settings, find the wife menu, and toggle the “automatically connect to nearby networks” feature off.
If your elderly loved one has expressed interest in purchasing a smartphone, ensuring they understand safety basics is crucial to protecting their essential information. Between passcode usage, understanding phishing schemes, safety settings, and lost phone capabilities, the senior citizens in your life will be well equipped, allowing them to take advantage of the limitless smartphone benefits.