What do you want to use social media for? With plenty of apps and tools out there, the possibilities are endless. While some want to see the latest pictures of their grandchildren, others might want to learn a new skill, connect with friends or simply pass the time.
The use of social media increased in recent years as social distancing led people to stay connected through technology. From research reports, you might get the impression that social media is a young person’s game. However, in 2021, nearly half of adults 65 and older regularly used Facebook and YouTube.
So, are you ready to log in and start scrolling? If you want to start using your apps more often, here’s some helpful info on social media for seniors:
Top Social Media Sites for Seniors
The top four social media sites for adults over 65 are Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, and Instagram. You can access social media sites by computer, but using an app from your cell phone is best. Many apps are also accessible by tablet or iPad but look slightly different from your standard phone view.
Here’s an overview of how each of these platforms operates:
With 2.89 billion active users, Facebook is the world’s number one social media network. It’s also the top platform used by adults over 65. You may have heard the term “friend” used as a verb, as in “I friended him.” That’s a social media expression! It means you found someone you know on the platform and sent a request to connect, which they accepted. Now, if either of you writes something or shares a photo, the other will see it. To sign up for Facebook, you’ll need to enter some basic information and upload a profile picture.
If you want to learn how to trim your hedges, dance the Cupid Shuffle or learn chef-style cooking techniques, there’s likely a YouTube video out there ready for you. Known as the world’s leading video-sharing platform, YouTube is the second-largest search engine after Google.
Users on this app can post and share videos on topics they choose. You might even find professional content, such as fitness tapes, music videos, and movies, along with a wealth of kid-focused programming for your grandchildren.
You don’t need an account to access YouTube content, but you will need to sign up if you want to comment on or save videos. If you want to create an account, follow these instructions.
On Pinterest, users share, collect and organize images about their interests. This can include anything from party planning to home decorating or healthy recipes. You can comment on other collections (called “boards”) or share someone else’s content. To create these mini-digital collages, you’ll need to create a Pinterest account to share and discover pins.
This app is all about visuals, whether through photos or videos. You can follow your friends, businesses, or even celebrities. You’ll usually see two types of posts: Instagram stories that disappear after 24 hours and regular posts that remain online to view at any time. This app is where you can post your vacation photos or images of the beautiful flowers on your patio. If you follow your children and grandchildren, you’ll also see their pictures as you scroll!
To create an Instagram account, download the app and fill in the requested information.
Avoiding Social Media Scams
While social media is a great way to connect with friends, it is also used by scammers to find targets. If you share too much information on social media, you could be the victim of a phishing attack. Cybercriminals can send an authentic-looking text or email message to encourage you to click on a link. If you do, malware is installed on your phone or computer, and criminals can steal your personal information.
Here is how to protect yourself against potential scams:
Avoid Sharing Personal Information
Be careful about how much information you share online. Don’t take Facebook quizzes that ask for personal details such as a pet’s name or the name of your elementary school. Hackers can use this data to guess your passwords.
Don’t Click Links in Emails or Texts.
To convince you to share your personal information, scammers will send a text or email that looks like it’s from someone you trust, like a friend or your bank. Never click those links. Instead, call your friend or go directly to the business’ official website.
Remember that much of what you’ll see on social media is untrue. Some users create fraudulent profiles with false identities. Some information shared is misleading or false.
Manage your privacy settings
Social media sites allow you to adjust your settings to control who sees your information. Go to “privacy settings” on the app and change your settings. For example, you could make your account private so only your approved friends can see your posts. If you’re not sure how to do this, a friend or family member may be able to help.
Social Media and Seniors: It’s Time to Get Connected
Whether you’re interested in seeing the baby’s newest milestone or learning gardening tips, social media can be an excellent way to keep informed. Use these tips to choose the right platform for you, and let the sharing begin!