Male senior citizen working on a computer

Growing on the Internet: 4 Ways Seniors Can Better Their Online Experience Right Now

Chances are, if you’re reading this blog, you have a basic understanding of the internet and how to navigate it. However, you may struggle with other online features or wish to be more confident in how you navigate the World Wide Web.

Features such as streaming videos, online shopping and even college courses are readily available on the internet. Advancing your skills online and becoming self-reliant is important, especially since 67% of seniors in America have access to the internet, but 48% of those seniors require someone else to set it up and provide a tutorial.

Here are some of the best parts of the internet and how to properly protect yourself online.

Video Chat

Video chat applications are one of the best ways to communicate with loved ones nowadays. Video chatting allows you to visually engage with family and friends regardless of your distance. Contacting family and friends through video chat services has never been easier. More than 10 years ago, video chatting required specific equipment and applications. But now, most computers and cell phones come with the necessary equipment already loaded or readily available. Services such as Skype, Facetime and Google Hangouts can be used to communicate with one another. Thanks to the internet, visual interactions with loved ones can occur whenever a senior desires.

Streaming Videos and Digital Downloads

From movies to television, your favorite forms of entertainment can be found online, too. Streaming services such as Amazon, Netflix and Hulu, allow you to enjoy the classics or discover new shows and movies with minimal or no commercial breaks. All computers, smartphones and most modern TVs can easily access these streaming services. From there, a catalog of old and new TV shows and movies can be enjoyed. Streaming services can help you create a digital collection catered to your tastes and interest as opposed to a large physical collection of VHS tapes and DVDs.

Social Media

Sites including Twitter and Facebook may appear to be aimed at younger audiences. However, these social media sites provide an environment where seniors can enjoy themselves. Through social media, you can receive regular updates from friends and family, share photos, read news and interact with loved ones at any time. Social media also allows you to connect with your favorite celebrities, local politicians and even brands. Once you’ve joined and set up your privacy settings, there are a few rules of etiquette you’ll want to follow.

If you’re questioning whether social media is for you, PEW Research offers these stats: 34% of Americans 65 and older regularly use social media, and that number is slowly growing.

If you do decide to sign up for Facebook, be sure to “like” and “follow” the Capital Senior Living page for entertaining, engaging and educational posts ranging from fun national holidays and community events to informative blog posts.

Defending Yourself from the Internet

It’s important to be aware of what awaits you on the internet. From saving your passwords to downloading the right software, there are a variety of ways for you to keep your information secure while also being entertained. When using a computer, it’s recommended that you have antivirus software installed. This software is designed to help prevent your personal data from being compromised.

Another way to defend yourself online is to create unique passwords involving numbers, special characters and upper and lowercase letters. It is recommended that you use different passwords for different sites you visit. However, make sure your passwords are easily recallable, or it might be best to store them with a password manager.

It’s important for you to understand what “phishing” is and how to avoid it. Phishing is when you receive an email that requests sensitive information such as passwords, Social Security numbers or even money. The emailer usually disguises himself or herself as a reputable source such as a bank or store. The best way to avoid being scammed is to check the email address of the sender and physically call the organization for verification.

Shopping, college classes and even job listings can be found through a simple search on Google. However, for a one-on-one tutorial or dedicated class, organizations such as SeniorNet and Senior Connects can help you navigate the internet better.

At its core, the internet is about communication and closing the gap between people. Whether wanting to see and hear the grandkids or escape your day-to-day routines, the internet is an ideal place to explore your interests and connect with others. That’s why many of our Capital Senior communities offer computer areas where seniors can gather and learn from each other.

Older generations have been known to be late adopters of technology when compared to their younger counterparts. However, as technology evolves, learning how to use newer technology can be an eye-opening experience for seniors.

This website contains information, facts, opinions and recommendations of various individuals and organizations regarding senior care, health, nutrition and exercise. Capital Senior Living and its affiliates, agents and licensors cannot, and do not, guarantee the accuracy, completeness, timeliness, merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose of, or otherwise endorse, any opinions or recommendations, nor does Capital Senior Living constitute the giving of medical, health or fitness advice. Users of the website must consult their physicians regarding the applicability of any opinions or recommendations with respect to their conditions.