The Senior’s Guide to Online Safety

connect-safely-for-seniorsAdult children often find themselves providing technology support services for their aging parents. Now there’s a new, research-based resource to help.

The Connect Safely organization has recently published The Senior’s Guide to Online Safety. The publication contains important information, it’s free, and it’s simple to download as a PDF file. Adult children may want to print the booklet and share this short and easy-to-read guide.

The Seniors Guide to Online Safety addresses a range of issues that are critical for senior and elder adults to consider and understand as they go about online activities. The guide includes safety and privacy tips, information on a range of scams, guidance about securing wifi, and advice about protecting identify and financial information. The goal is to educate older adults with information that comes from experts.

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When Scary Virus Messages Appear on Your Aging Parent’s Screen…

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This is an example of a warning. I did not have the presence of mind to make a screen shot.

Adult children who support aging parents and their personal computers need to be aware of a threat that can pop up on a computer anytime and cause major problems if a person does not understand how to handle the threat. Our parents need to hear about this potential problem.

The other day I was working on my computer, visiting the website of a noted author, when suddenly my screen turned to white and a voice repeated over and over that I had a virus.The recorded voice told me to use a telephone number that I was to call immediately to get my computer fixed. I hadn’t opened any attachment and, I was not visiting any questionable or unsavory website.

Now I am a technology geek. I’ve trained students and teachers on technology and curriculum topics for years. My computers and devices are all well-protected. But this message scared me, and even with all my training and experience, I kept rereading the message and wondering what to do. And that voice kept repeating the message…

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Help People Evaluate Health Media With Trust It or Trash It

The moment a person needs health information, the inclination is to Google it, even though there are much better places to visit — places that offer high-quality and reliable health information. A Google search does not guarantee good quality information — especially when it comes to health information, and due to sponsored advertisements and what I call pseudo health websites, a search may actually send a searcher in a wrong direction. Moreover, these days television ads, infomercials, and online ads seek to grab and hold people’s attention, and it’s difficult to figure out what’s a good source and what’s bad.

Screen Shot 2016-01-06 at 12.16.34 PMThe good health information issue becomes even more critical for aging parents and elders, who often have many health concerns. Each day pharmaceutical advertisements and self-improvement ads bombard older adults with sales info disguised as health support. When they do Google searches, they encounter carefully groomed advertisements that may swoop in and look trustworthy. It can be difficult for a person of any age to tell what information is really useful and what information is just trying to get attention … and money.

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Help Elders Understand More: A History of the Way the Web Works

After breakfast three seniors work on three different digital devices.

After breakfast three seniors work on three different digital devices.

My parents and other elders often ask me questions about the Web — the way it works, how it really got started, how it’s evolved, and how why it changes so much.

I have the answers to many of these questions and willingly take the time to explain, but often wish I could hand the questioners something to read. Each of my  answers teaches an individual one time. By providing an article or other resource that can be consulted again and again and is eminently readable, I offer a person the opportunity to learn or relearn over and over.

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Cyber Seniors Documentary: Well Done!

This afternoon at the Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI) conference in Washington, DC, I saw clips from a documentary, Cyber-Seniors, about teenage volunteers in Toronto who work with elders — people in their mid to late 80s and older — and the rich clarity of their interactions. Many of these people retired before computers appeared in any significant way into the workplace.

The movie, which travelled around film festivals, has already screened in more than 80 viewings around Canada and the United States — with more to come. It shares special moments, difficult moments, looks of wonder, moderate shock (usually at what grandparents see on their grandchildren’s pages), and the excitement we all feel when we learn something new. And yes, sometimes it’s funny. Cyber-Seniors has garnered lots of good press. (I do wish, however, that people in the media would stop calling elders “cute.” You media folks will grow older some day andhttp://www.mercurynews.com/business/ci_26931356/magid-exclusive-amazon-fire-phones-fight-ebola-west-africa you WILL NOT appreciate being labeled as cute.)

Here’s a clip of a teenage mentor teaching a woman to take a selfie.

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iTunes Scam — Watch Out

Screen Shot 2014-09-07 at 5.09.54 PMIf you use an iPhone or iPad, be aware that an iTunes scam resurfaces from time-to-time and is again making the rounds

People may receive an email that claims to be from the iTunes store. I got it a couple of days ago. The email points out that an individual’s iTunes account has been used to make possibly fraudulent purchases, and it may even include an invoice to show the person what purchases have been made.

Naturally the scammer invites people to simply click on a link to fix things and solve the problem, but the link leads to a site that looks like iTunes (sort-of) but is fake. The person is then asked for account info, etc.

Don’t be fooled!

Here’s what Apple has on its website about this kind of Phishing               Continue reading