Technology Tips for the Rest of Us: Part 2

If you recall from our previous post, the first 3 technology tips were 1) google is your friend, 2) write your passwords down and 3) beware of phishing schemes. While those are all extremely valuable, tips 4 thru 6 are just as valuable. Let’s start with that little thing called Facebook.

4. Facebook is scary, but it doesn’t have to be.

With over 1.8 billion users online, Facebook is socially ubiquitous. With that ubiquity comes a certain expectation – if you’re not on Facebook, why aren’t you? For certain older people, social media seems insane – posting your personal information for all to see, at the mercy of Facebook strangers, etc.

The thing with Facebook is that you can choose what to share, when to share and who can see it. Studies actually show that Facebook use helps middle-aged-plus people feel less lonely.

The study, published in the journal New Media & Society, suggests that using social media is not a uniform experience that is either all bad, or all good but offers multiple functions for diverse users…Older adults who posted a lot of personal stories on the social networking site felt a higher sense of community, and the more they customized their profiles, the more in control they felt, said S Shyam Sundar, a professor at the Pennsylvania State University in the US.

Given all the hubbub about Facebook, it’s easy to forget that it is first and foremost a tool to stay connected to friends and family. If you need some tips getting started, and further securing your account, you can follow this link!

5. Tablets Are Your Friend

For anyone trying to ease themselves into the information superhighway, tablets are a great place to start. They’re intuitive by design (most have touch screens), they’re limited in what they can do – no need to worry about viruses or anything. They have all the communication features you would want – Facebook messenger, email, iMessage, Whatsapp, etc without any of the other malarkey involved in getting online with a desktop computer.

Tablet apps are deliberately designed to be as easy as possible to use. No need to open up Safari and then go to – there’s just a YouTube app! Same with Google, Instagram, Twitter, etc. Tablets are actually made with the technologically nascent in mind.

Studies show that older folks who were apprehensive about technology had their minds changed after a few hours of tablet use.

Our findings suggest that most of our participants were eager to adopt new technology and willing to learn using a tablet. However, they voiced apprehension about lack of, or lack of clarity in, instructions and support. Understanding older adults’ perceptions of technology is important to assist with introducing it to this population and maximize the potential of technology to facilitate independent living.

If you’re already feeling some apprehension, know that this is by far the best way to dip your feet in. After a few hours with an iPad, you’ll find yourself browsing the internet like a champ.

6.  Accessibility Options

As we get older, sometimes we encounter certain health complications. Our eyes may get worse, it might get harder to hear. There is all manner of issues that can make browsing the internet especially tedious and chore-like. This is where accessibility options come in. Your computer, tablet, and even your phone come with special settings for those who might need them. Hard of hearing? Most videos online have captions. Difficulty reading small text? There are tools that both magnify text and declutter webpages to make reading easier. There are a million ways that computers have become more accessible over the years – text to speech allows those with limited mobility to have their speech translated into readable text, speech to text has a voice read text aloud for those who have limited sight. There are even colorblind options for those who are, you know, colorblind.

Here’s a list of accessibility options for those who use windows computers.
Here are similar options for those on a Mac.

Here are iPad options and iPhone options too.
If you don’t see your device listed, just remember step one! You can Google it!

With all these tips in your toolbox, you’ll be better at the internet than any teen you know. And that’s what this is all about! Showing up those snooty teens who think they’re so cool. “Tweeting” about “memes,” getting “litty at the function,” making “finsta accounts” so they can “post” with “impunity.” Dang teens. You’ll show them!  

In case you missed the first 3 tips, you can find them here!