While you may associate sites such as Facebook and Twitter with younger people, there are many benefits to seniors embracing social networking. Now more than ever it is possible to stay connected with family, friends and learning through the social networking sites. Just remember to stay safe. Hackers are everywhere!
Benefits of Senior Social Networking
The primary benefit for you is communication. You can connect with friends and families, which can be especially important if you have loved ones far away, or want to stay in touch with former school friends or coworkers. All you need is an Internet connection and a computer. Most social networking sites are free, or at least have free options, so the cost for you is minimal.
One way you can use social networking is through a family group site. With many of the online sites, you can create your own profile in which you can limit who is able to view your information. In this way, you can share your information only with the people of which you approve. You and members of your family can form your own group to share stories and photos.
Perhaps you feel frustrated at times when your children or grandchildren don't call as often as you would like. Through senior social networking, communication is easier. Many sites have smartphone applications, making it simple to update everyone on the grandkids soccer game or family vacation. You can even share photos with other family members or post them on your group page.
Chances are your children are using social networking in some form for their jobs. By getting involved, you can stay in touch with your children and the changes going on in their world. If you have questions getting set up on a social networking site, your children can walk you through the process.
Connecting with Friends
You can use social networking to stay connected with friends both near and far. Find high school classmates or other friends with whom you may have lost touch. Think how wonderful it would be to reconnect with your best friend in high school or your college roommate.
With social networking, you can connect with others in your own age group. You can use it to share information and learn more the current news of the day. This adds a whole new facet to senior life.
Senior social networking offers you another way to stay in touch with friends and family. Some sites have online chat sessions so whoever is online can communicate together as if you were on a group phone call.
Another great chat option if you have high-speed Internet is the video phone service, Skype. It's free to download and use. Encourage friends and family to load this on their computers so you can talk face-to-face.
Privacy and Security Concerns
When you use social networking, you need to follow some particular guidelines when communicating online. Unfortunately, while the Internet aids communication, it is also a vehicle for spam and hackers.
When you set up your social networking profiles, carefully review the policies of each site. For maximum protection, you should set privacy and security settings at the highest level. This step is vital, especially if you are posting pictures of grandchildren or other family members.
If you have an option to make your email address invisible, do so. The fewer places that your email address is displayed online, the less spam you will receive in your inbox. Depending upon your notification settings, you may receive the occasional email from someone requesting to be a part of your network or to be your friend. If you do not know the person, delete the request. You should never open your profile to a stranger.
Most networking sites allow a message to be sent to you through the site. This is helpful, because people can still contact you without needing your email address. Messaging within the site is a much safer option until you decide what type of communication you want to have with the individual.
Don't post your home address on the site, and don't talk online about when you'll be away. Even if you follow all the security measures, online information can still be accessed by unsavory people looking for an easy target. It's fine to talk about your vacation and post photos online, but do it after you return.
Senior Social Networks
Because social sites are so simple and convenient, you can easily connect with people more frequently, giving you an opportunity to experience their day-to-day lives. Your grandkids will think you are the coolest grandma or grandpa around because you are Internet savvy!