10 steps to help (grand) parents with online privacy
Step 1: Be careful when clicking on links
Step 2: Be careful what you download
Step 3: Teach them how to create secure passwords
Step 4: Check the default settings in their social media profiles
Step 5:Show them how to use the Internet safely
Step 6: Make sure they understand what the privacy settings are doing
Step 7:Help them to gain experience
Step 8:Install antivirus software on the computers
Step 9:Teach them how to handle e-mail
Step 10:Adjust the security settings of the browser
You thought it would be enough to learn about technology to get on with life easily. During the past decade, technology evolved rapidly, allowing more people to use the Internet. And now the time has come for you to be the teacher and deal with the tech problems and inquiries of the adults in your family.
To ensure their safe online surfing and your own wellbeing, you should spare some time and explain the basics of the so-called online hygiene. That way you won't play the 24/7 IT support with the "try turning it off and on again" line. On the other hand, your parents will have more self-confidence using the internet responsibly.
You’ll probably need a lot of time tutoring before you can safely release your elders into the online wilderness. If you see that your parents' profiles are "public" with all their personal info voluntarily filled, you should do "the talk."
At first, it might be overwhelming, so start with the basics. Know that you will need to repeat even the most straightforward procedures a couple of times, over the phone, over a Skype call or whenever you get back home.
Here are the 10 things you should explain to your elder ones.
1. Be careful when clicking links.
Explain to them that it's almost unlikely to accidentally "find" the cure for cancer or the way to be the winner of a million dollar price. Warn them about the existence of dangerous websites and potential scams. Adults have a hard time understanding that everything can be copied, shared and used against them, without them even noticing. Explain that they should look for clues that the website they’re on is safe, such as having an "s" in the web address like "https." The "s" stands for "secure," which means the site provides an extra layer of security.
2. Be careful what you download.
Tell them to be careful when visiting websites and downloading apps. They should take programs only from the official website of the application manufacturer. Otherwise, they might be trapped in a “download now” page with as much as 3 or 4 “DOWNLOAD NOW” buttons created tо deceive you from getting what you want. You need to provide special training on how to recognize which download button should be clicked. Generally, how to avoid clicking everywhere on the page not paying attention what you do with the mouse. This could provide the opening of endless ads and tabs that could cause enormous confusion.
3. Teach them how to create strong passwords.
Make sure they use a combination of letters and symbols for their passwords and that they have a different one for every website and service they use. This is particularly hard to teach them, but you should explain how important it is to have a strong password.
4. Check out the default settings on their social profiles.
It might be easy for you to enable or disable certain functionalities, but the word “customize” can be overwhelming to someone who has no idea what “the standard” even means and how much it reveals.
5. Show them how to use the internet safely.
Explain by showing what they should do. Explain to them that not everything said and written online is true just because it’s written somewhere on the Internet. Explain to them that they should approach some types of information with skepticism. Show them where to look for the author of the article, or how to check if the website is trustworthy.
6. Make sure that they understand what the privacy settings mean.
Even basic words, like “everyone,” “friends,” “public” and “private” can be confusing. They might have a different meaning than in real life, and this meaning should be explained to them. Different social platforms use different words for the same thing. You should explain that “friends” might be “followers” or “acquaintances” and point out the differences in the relationships.
7. Show them how they can improve their digital experience.
Things that might seem effortless to you might be a significant life improvement for them. Show them how to create different folders; how to create desktop shortcuts for the folders they often use. Help them enlarge the font of their computer or phone. Check what apps they have on their phones and clear the ones they don’t use or don’t know. See which news apps have enabled push notifications and remove the ones you think are not relevant.
8. Protect their computer by installing anti-virus software.
Tell them it’s important to update it whenever the program reminds them to, and that they shouldn’t just avoid these notifications.
9. Teach them how to use email.
Tell them that they shouldn’t open an email they don’t remember subscribing to, that they are certainly not the “the last person to get this offer”. Warn your elders that they should never open emails if they don't know the sender. Unexpected and oddly named files are a general no-no as well.
10. Adjust browser security settings.
Knowing that your parents won’t get everything you said the first time, it might be a good idea to go through their browser settings and adjust them to block potentially harmful resources.
Let’s help cure all the carelessness going on, allowing so many security breaches to occur. Help an adult and save the headaches for everyone. Show them how to download software or shop only from reputable sites.
These daily or weekly routines should be very straight-forward and easy to comprehend. So, if you want to be sure they get it, you can start with writing a checklist on paper. Just to remind them what to do the old-fashioned way!