Social MediaWhether you are using a laptop or desktop, more seniors are using computers and other forms of technology on a regular basis than ever before. Lots of seniors understand the basics of using a computer -- turning it on, navigating their way to Facebook, etc. -- but they’re totally lost when it comes to maintaining their device and staying safe online.

If you’re a senior who spends a lot of time on the computer -- or you know someone who does -- these four tips can help you stay safe and have a better user experience.  

1. Perform Regular Maintenance

It’s important to take steps to protect your computer from viruses and malware that can stop it from running the way it’s supposed to. Many seniors are susceptible to these issues because they will unknowingly click on questionable ads and emails that end up infecting their computers.

Some important maintenance to perform on a regular basis includes:

  • Updating your computer on a regular basis to improve security and fix any bugs
  • Installing an antivirus program that will do weekly scans and cleanups
  • Downloading programs to remove malware left behind by antivirus programs
  • Downloading a defragger to improve your computer’s speed

2. Practice Good Posture

If you’re spending a lot of time on the computer, it’s important to keep your posture in check.

If you’re sitting at a computer desk, make sure you’re keeping your feet flat on the floor with your back straight, forearms resting on your chair armrests, and your wrists in a relaxed, neutral position. Your screen should also be directly in front of you with the top just a few inches above your eye level so that you don’t have to crane your neck.

Lots of seniors also use a laptop in bed, either because they’re ill or just relaxing. This can make it hard to maintain good posture, and it’s easy to end up hunched over with a sore neck. To avoid this, invest in a laptop desk that comes with an adjustable stand so that it’s easier to keep the screen at eye-level.

3. Learn to Manage Online Privacy

If you’re using social media on a regular basis, it’s important to make sure you’re managing your online privacy. Some things to keep in mind when you’re posting on social media or clicking on links that other people share include:

  • Check your privacy settings to make sure only people you know can see your posts
  • Never send personal or financial information (phone numbers, bank account numbers, etc.), not even through a private message -- it’s easy to get scammed by someone pretending to be your friend
  • Never announce that you’re going out of town or will be out of the house for an extended period of time -- this makes your home vulnerable to burglars

4. Be Careful About the Links You Click On

Before you click on a link, either one that’s been shared on social media or one that’s included in an email, it’s important for you to make sure it’s safe and not actually a virus.

Keep these tips in mind to help you discern between safe and unsafe links:

  • Never click on links that are sent in unsolicited emails, text messages, or private messages on social media sites
  • Avoid clicking on links that contain strange characters
  • Use browser plug-ins that can identify suspicious links

These four practices are essential for anyone who wants to stay safe while using a computer, whether it’s for business or just to use your favorite social media sites. Keep them in mind next time you hop online!