I’m pretty sure that when people hear the term “social media,” the first thing that comes into their minds is teenagers having fun and staying in touch with each other using one of those popular social sites like Facebook, instagram, twitter, etc. At least, that’s what comes into my mind. Well, the reality is that teenagers or young adults are not the only people using social media these days. Nowadays, a great number of seniors are experimenting with these sites as well. Those, in my opinion, are very good news because it shows how advanced our seniors are when it comes to technology.
The problem is that these sites tend to be somehow “complicated,” that even when the desire to use them is present, some seniors may feel a little intimidated by them. In my opinion, social sites are great tools to use when wanting to help our seniors to stay in touch with other people, especially with friends and families who live far away from them. At the same time, it could also serve as an entertaining tool for those seniors who don’t have the ability to have an active social life outside of a controlled environment. The truth is that, we all have the needs to stay in touch with our loved ones; why not take advantage of these social network sites to help our seniors stay connected with their loved ones?
If you have a senior in your family or know someone who has interest in experimenting with social media, continue reading. Below, I will share with you four (4) tips to help make the senior’s online socializing experience a more enjoyable one.
Tip # 1: Help him create his own account. When creating the account, allow him the opportunity to be part of the process; from the selection of his profile name, to coming up with the password he wants to use, and also to the selection of the profile picture he wants to add. By doing that, you are getting him involved in the process of establishing an online presence. That, my friends, will show him that he is in full control of his own profile.
Tip # 2: Show him how the sites work. This tip is very important because it’s basically what the majority of the seniors get intimidated with. As I mentioned before, social network sites could be a little complicated and overwhelming if the user doesn’t know what he is doing. To avoid making your senior feel that way, show him how the sites work and let him navigate through them himself so he can get a better idea on how is that the sites, in fact, work. When talking to a senior about social media, try using simple and not so complicated words, that way he can understand the instructions better. One particular task that I know seniors will enjoy is learning how to add friends to his profiles. When teaching your senior how to work with the sites; let him add his own friends to the profiles. I am sure he would appreciate it and will enjoy it more than if you do it for him.
Tip # 3: Talk to him about online safety and privacy. Online social interaction carries a great deal of security concerns, and talking to your senior about those concerns is one of the most important steps you need to take before encouraging him to fly solo. Explain him about the risks of sharing too much information, about allowing unknown people to have access to his profile pictures and messages, and about posting sensitive or “just for family” information in social sites. He has to know these safety rules before he even starts using or sharing his profile with other people. Remind him that safety is the most important rule while socializing online.
Tip # 4: Let him be. Once you have completed the tips mentioned above; take a step back and allow the person to enjoy what he has created. Always stay close just in case he has any questions. But, for the most part; let him be.
An extra tip for the seniors
Hey guys! If you have more questions about Facebook, instagram, twitter, or any one of those cool sites, or if you want to learn more about how they work; call your grandchildren. Believe me; they are the ones who know how these sites really work and the ones who will help you make this new experience, a great one. I promise you that you will not be disappointed.
There you have it, my friends. Seniors using social sites is a great thing. Especially, when they are actually enjoying what they are doing and have a better idea of what is that they are doing. Let’s promote this by helping them understand how these sites work and by including them during online discussions and postings. They will really appreciate it, and by doing that you will be contributing in making their lives a more entertaining one.