Very Basic Rules for Aging Parent Digital Devices

Are you helping to maintain and secure a computer for your aging parent? Do you find yourself spending lots and lots of time explaining why NOT to click on a button or an update screen, even when windows seem to swoop in and personally invite a user to click (or worse download)? Here is an explanation that just may help an aging senior understand, concretely, what’s going on.

Brian Krebs, over at the blog Krebs on Security, has posted 3 Basic Rules for Online Security. From his perspective, and I agree, just about everything can be distilled into the three broad guidelines listed below (or head on over to his post to read more detailed explanations). Remind family members to keep these three things in mind, day in and day out. when they are using computers.

  1. If you didn’t go looking for it, don’t install it
  2. If you installed it, update it (magazines, anti-virus programs, etc.)
  3. If you no longer need it, remove it.

The first rule may be the most important for aging seniors, because it can help them understand that is OK to ignore a digital invitation. Moreover, I still need to figure out  a way to help  my senior parents stay alert for privacy upgrades on social networking sites — because the updates are not as obvious and clear-cut.

Many of our parents are active lifelong learners, so it’s important to help them develop secure skills that allow them enjoy, but not be frustrated by digital pursuits.

Krebs is a journalist, formerly of the Washington Post, who writes on security issues.

One thought on “Very Basic Rules for Aging Parent Digital Devices

  1. “If you didn’t go looking for it, don’t install it” – That’s one thing I can definitely agree with. I just told my mom to take the “DARE” approach to unsolicited downloads – “just say no!” As for the other two recommendations, though, I’m not so sure. Updating and removing programs actually requires a bit of proactive effort, and I worry that most seniors will have trouble with that. I suppose auto-updates are great, but manual ones – not so much.


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