We’ve all been annoyed by our parents calling to ask us how to log on to Facebook for the hundredth time. But rather than huff and be frustrated by the calls, consider them an opportunity to help your aging parents stay safe online. Even with something as simple as logging into their favorite websites can be an open invitation for trouble. And if your mom or dad has ever called and said the screen is flashing at me asking for my credit card, where do I enter the number? – you know what we’re talking about.
Listen When They Tell You What’s Up
Sure, it’s easy to roll your eyes when your parents call wondering why they can’t get into their accounts online, but it might be a sign that something is wrong. To help your parents stay safe online, really listen to what they are saying is the problem and try to remain calm when they explain it differently each time you ask. They are just trying to get to the next page, step, or level. Patience goes a long way and can provide you with the wherewithal to ensure that your parents aren’t getting into places they shouldn’t be.
The next thing you want to do is continue to ask questions without getting upset. Of course, not everyone feels this way when their mother or even grandmother calls asking for help online, but it’s pretty common to hear younger people joking about how frustrating it is. Enjoy the conversation and talk to your parents by asking questions to help them navigate the web and learn more about it. Whenever possible, remind your parents not to input private information into unsecured sites. Even though Google has put the run to sites that aren’t secure, they still slip through from time to time.
Suggest a Service
While the majority of internet users are under the age of 65, many aging seniors are still learning to use the internet and aren’t quite sure of the issues that may arise as a result of giving private information away online. What’s more, they may not see a problem with giving an email address or updating a profile and think they are supposed to do that. It might be a good idea to offer to set them up with an Identity as a Service partner. What is IDaaS? It’s an organization that helps protect your information online and from hackers.
Check Their Browser History
Now, your parent might not be a 13 year-old-boy looking for inappropriate pages on the internet, but the chances of your aging parents finding things that could cause trouble is as high. Kids – and seniors – get into things that they don’t understand before they are ready, and it can lead to problems down the road. When it comes to staying safe online, you might need to do a bit of background checks on Mom and Pops to make sure they aren’t giving away more information than is needed. Nobody is immune from cyber theft or fraud and if someone wants your parents’ information badly enough, they’ll get it. Offer them some insight about the kind of sites they visit and remind them to refrain from giving personal information to just anyone. Trusted sources only – and show them what that means in the web browser address bar – and check in on them occasionally to make sure they aren’t straying from the safety zones.
Talking to your aging parents about safety online may start out a bit rocky, but with patience and experience, your parents will come to enjoy spending time online, just like you do. A good rule of thumb for sharing information with your parents is to not dramatize the risks, but be clear and concise about how they need to protect themselves from those who might take their information and money.