Technology

4 Ways to Prep Your Parents for the Latest Online Hazards

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Even those who have been reluctant to use any sort of Internet technology are now updating social networking profiles and hunting for wireless connections. Unfortunately, older people with little web experience are among those most likely to get victimized by online crooks. If you’re helping your parents to learn how to surf the net, then you’ll need to pay attention to a few key areas in order to make sure that they don’t fall victim to dangers like malware or phishing scams.

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Here are a few useful tips to help make the big transition into the 21st century that much easier.

1) Make a List When You Setup an Email or Chat Account

Email, online chat messaging and most other forms of online written communication are used by those who love to separate unsuspecting people and their money. You’re more than likely familiar with all of the various scams out there, and you’d never give out your own information to someone you’ve never spoken to. While this may be old hat to you, it’s a good idea to make a list of everything to avoid when you first help your parents configure their online accounts.

If they’re going to do any sort of social networking or use any browser-based services, then make sure to limit the amount of marketing and news messages they receive. These can be confusing even for experienced netizens.

2) Help them Configure Accessibility Settings

Most Internet users ignore the fine print that they’re agreeing to every time they install an app, but it’s that much easier to ignore it if you have trouble reading it. Make sure that your parent’s device is configured properly. If they have any sort of vision or hearing problem, a quick visit over to the contrast and sound control panel can make their online experience much better.

High contrast visual themes are available on a majority of modern operating systems and even some web resources.

3) Consider Buying an Inexpensive Tablet

If they don’t already have some sort of web-enabled device, then you might want to either get an inexpensive tablet for your parents or encourage them to invest in one (you can see the list of good, affordable tablets here). While it used to be that you got what you paid for when tablet shopping, drastic price cuts due to overproduction have made it so you can get very nice piece of technology without spending too much.

User experience experts have found that those unfamiliar with computer interfaces can learn to use a touchscreen faster than a mouse and keyboard. Since they’re lighter, tablets are easier to use for those with arthritis. They also usually run system software that’s not susceptible to malware designed for consumer-grade desktop and laptop computers. This kind of innate security is important for those who’ve never come close to configuring a firewall.

4) Take a Moment to Set Privacy Options

Most Internet newcomers won’t know anything about what the best privacy settings are, so take a few moments to set them for your parents before you give them back their shiny new tablet or laptop. Users generally don’t mess with these, so once is generally enough. Though updates might interfere with your settings later, you might want to consider a virtual private network or another type of advanced security system to keep your parents safe and help them browse the internet anonymously. This kind of technology is so transparent from the online experience that an end user isn’t even likely to notice it.

While you’re at it, take a few moments to disable or remove as many apps as possible. Your parents will be less likely to accidentally start something they’ll never use if it’s gone. This can also help to drastically improve performance.

Use This as an Opportunity to Connect

Don’t forget that you can connect with your parents in a way that has nothing to do with digital networking. Take the time to learn more about their interests and why they want to use the Internet. Spending a day helping them out with the digital world can be an excellent chance to learn a great deal about their lives in the regular one. You might find that it’s a great way to rekindle the relationship you once had with them.

Ganesh Kolekar
Ganesh Kolekar is a graduate and geek. He is the man behind keeping the quality of the posts and manages the content part on the website.

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