That number is getting bigger all the time, and for good reason. The Internet is a great way to read the latest news, stay in touch with family, get medical information and manage appointments, renew prescriptions, and access medical records. And some seniors are going online to make new friends and to find romantic partners through online dating.
The reasons seniors go online are as varied as the users themselves and include: Participating in social and cultural activities Keeping in touch with loved ones Meeting new friends or romantic partners Online banking, shopping and investing Making travel arrangements Getting medical advice and information including doctor reports and test results Sharing and viewing pictures Exploring and sharing political views And much more Like all powerful tools, the Internet and mobile technologies come with some risks.
These risks can be managed as long as you follow some basic rules of the road. So, for all the great things we cover in this guide, we also go over some precautions to help keep you safe. You may remember spending a lot of money on long distance calls and keeping them as short as possible to keep costs down, but now you can call just about anywhere in the world for free or a couple of cents a minute, and make free video calls with services like Skype, Apple Facetime, Google Voice and Facebook Messenger.
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For better or worse, old-fashioned letters have been largely but not completely replaced by email. Social media allows you to exchange ideas, photos and videos, and even plan events with friends and family living far away. Make sure your passwords are long — at least eight characters — and include numbers, upper and lowercase letters and symbols; avoid using names or dictionary words.
Most services have settings that let you control who can see what you post.
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Facebook, for example, has extensive controls, letting you post to only friends, your friends and their friends, or everyone on Facebook. You can also limit specific posts to a smaller group like only family members or specific people.
Some services give you a choice between private and public posts, with private going just to people you designate. There are also privacy settings for smartphones that can restrict who has access to your location, contacts, and other personal information.
Think before your post. Avoid clicking on links in unsolicited email, as there is a chance they could link to sites designed to scam people or infect computers with malicious software. Report abuse from anyone, including friends, family and caregivers.
All major social media companies, and online and mobile service providers have employees that respond to abuse complaints. ConnectSafely has links to abuse and privacy pages for major social networking and Internet and mobile service companies.
Fraudsters use the Internet to scam unsuspecting consumers. If an offer, email, or message sounds too good to be true or just seems plain fishy, go with your gut and do some additional checking. Scammers email or post social media messages that appear to be from someone you know saying they are in distress, such as having their wallet stolen or having been arrested.
You owe money scam: Be wary of emails that claim you owe money. Many people have found love via dating websites, but others have been scammed out of money by online con artists. Microsoft and other reputable companies never make these calls. These are criminals trying to steal your money and plant viruses on your machine. Also be suspicious of any messages in email or that pop-up on your computer, in your Web browser or on a mobile app warning you of a virus or a security risk.
Criminals are very good at what they do and there have been lots of very smart people who have been victimized online. If it happens to you, report it to a trusted person and, if appropriate, law enforcement.
There are many online groups and forums where people with similar interests meet and that sometimes leads to getting together for all sorts of activities ranging from walks and bike rides to meetings to discuss issues or political candidates.
Online dating is also very popular with seniors and many have met great people via online dating sites, leading to friendships, romantic relationships and sometimes marriage. Bring along your cell phone and have a friend call you during the meeting just to make sure all is going well. Be aware of online dating scams. There are cases where seniors, as well as younger people, have been scammed into parting with their money and left heartbroken. With anyone you meet online, there is always the possibility they may not be who they claim to be.
Watch for red flags. They can include a person who claims or looks to be a lot younger than you or who sends you a picture that looks as if it came from a fashion site. The FBI warns people to be careful about anyone who claims to be from the U.
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Other red flags include the person pressuring you to leave the dating site to communicate via email or text messaging or someone who professes instant feelings of love. Be suspicious of anyone who is never actually available for a face-to-face meeting. Look for abnormalities in the way a person writes and the type of grammar and words they use. It may not mean anything but it could be a sign that they are in a foreign country and may have no intention of actually meeting you. Sharing your views Social networking sites are a great way to exchange views on a variety of subjects ranging from sports to politics to religion to the latest technology.
In fact, it strengthens our democracy to have a healthy exchange of ideas and opinions. There are plenty of other people you can interact with. And know that if you express your opinions, there is always a chance that others will disagree, and some may be disagreeable in the way they disagree. Know fact from fiction.
Some things online are simply not true. If you see something questionable on a website, do a search and research on a reputable site to determine its validity.
Online shopping, banking, charity and travel The Internet has had an enormous impact on the way people shop, do their banking, make investments, plan travel, and even how they pay their taxes. In the vast majority of cases, the experiences have been positive. Online shopping allows you to find items — which are sometimes hard or impossible to find in local stores — and typically get the lowest possible price by comparing prices with a variety of merchants. Online shopping can be easier than driving to a store — especially for those with limited mobility.
Yes, there are risks associated with shopping online, but they can be managed. Besides, there are also risks associated with driving to a store to make purchases. Online banking and investing is another great convenience. With a click of a mouse or a touch of a smartphone, you can transfer money between accounts, pay bills, and make investments. Stay safe tips Use strong and unique passwords. Once again, strong passwords are essential, just as they are with email and social media accounts.
Never share your passwords with anyone, unless you have designated someone you trust to manage your accounts.
Make sure your passwords have at least eight characters. Include numbers, upper and lower case letters, and symbols, and do not use names or dictionary words. Even if the company name is part of the Web address, it could still be a scam. Your safest bet is to type in the Web address like you normally do and if in doubt, call the organization. Be especially careful about offers for low-cost medications or medical coverage. Only shop at reputable online merchants.
Be careful about any online merchant that you have never heard of. Since the rise of online dating over the past decade, many dating websites have come and gone.
A common complaint shared by seasoned online daters who have tried various dating sites is that, rarely do the multitude of matchmaking services live up to their claims. For a monthly fee, dating sites claim they'll do the math for you and spit out your soul mate in return.
Some websites gather data about you and crunch the numbers with all kinds of mathematical formulas and algorithms in order to fill up your inbox with compatible matches. A recent report issued by the New York Times weighs in explaining why numbers and formulas are unlikely to help forge the perfect couple. Hang on a minute, wasn't online dating designed to reduce the complexities of finding a partner in the first place?
Technology and competition for this lucrative market has made a mockery of it. To the average person, thanks to bad press and other contributing factors, online dating has become somewhat of an un-trusted source for meeting people. So why are we different here at Free Dating America? The simple truth is that, people like to explore the pool of singles by sifting through simple location based searches and not relying on an algorithm and a bunch of gimmicks, not to mention a cash grab, in order to find someone they like the look of.