We are pleased to feature another guest writer today on Lose the Cape! Thank you so much to Hilary for sharing this great article. You can read more about Hilary at the end of the post.
Keeping Kids and Grandparents Connected Online (& SAFE!)
Technology is continuing to widen the generation gap at an alarming rate as tech trends seem to be moving faster than ever before. Sadly, it would seem as though this divide is coming in stronger between today’s youngsters and the advancing ages of their grandparents. What today’s seniors did when they were in school seems incomparable to the trials of today’s kids. Think about it, when most of us older folks were in school:
- We were passing notes in class and not texting our friends during school
- Our telephones were anchored to the kitchen wall not inside our pockets
- We wrote to Dear Abby for advice in a newspaper and now Siri guides us on our way
- Today we ask Google for information that we spent hours in the library trying to find
Remember setting up a camera, turning the timer on and running to get into the shot? Then we had to wait days for the film to be developed and hope everyone was smiling and had their eyes open. With today’s selfie, we can see the picture instantly and sent it around the world in minutes.
This is challenging at best, but now we’re struggling to get our children and parents to have some kind of relationship given all of today’s technology.
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Here are a few tips to keep techy children and technology challenged grandparents more connected and better protected online:
CONNECTED with a newer device
Sometimes seniors just need a little nudge to get them more connected with today’s technology. Think about getting parents a new tablet or upgrading their out-of-date cell phone with one of the more modern devices available. They’re relatively inexpensive and becoming more and more user friendly with their large icons and touch screens.
PROTECTED with antivirus
Be sure their new tech toy has the latest antivirus protection and they know that they should never open an email or respond to anyone online that they don’t know in person. The same goes for children, but they’ve likely had that drilled into their heads much more than their grandparents.
CONNECTED with education
Encourage your children to share their knowledge of the internet with their grandparents, mostly basic activities like how to send a text, access social media, respond to a post, take and share a picture. Also, check your local senior center or parks and recreation department for courses on internet basics or online 101 seminars for seniors.
PROTECTED with less sharing
Most of our children are become more aware about the dangers of the internet, everything from cyberbullying to sexting, but grandma and grandpa need to be enlightened also. Just as pedophiles are using the internet to prey on our youngsters, scammers, thieves and frauds are bilking seniors out of billions every year. Make sure grandparents and children alike know that:
- If it sounds too good to be true, that’s because IT IS!
- Banks and other businesses don’t ask for passwords or user names – EVER!
- No one needs money up front to “smuggle” funds out of a foreign country.
- You didn’t win the lottery because you didn’t buy a ticket!
See related content: keeping your children safe online.
Another popular ploy, sometimes scammers do their homework and will go after people who are especially vulnerable on social sites like Facebook. They will see that Grandma’s favorite grandson is vacationing in Hawaii and will pose as Honolulu police who claim to have arrested the lad.
Many grandparents have given tens of thousands of dollars to “rescue” relatives who are not incarcerated, but rather enjoying a vacation on the beach. By the way, police don’t call relatives to bail a prisoner out of jail, that’s why there is a thriving bail bonds business.
While we can stay better connected with our relatives online, we also need to have some common sense and keep our personal information private. Better safe than sorry, don’t give “phishers” (those who fish for info online) any more bait than they already have at their disposal.
Born and raised in Austin, TX, Hilary Smith is a free-lance journalist whose love of gadgets, technology and business has no bounds. After becoming a parent she now enjoys writing about family and parenting related topics. Follow Hilary on Twitter.