It can bring you a great deal of joy, unusually so, when you see your grandparents or parents buying a smartphone or getting involved with technology. The web and the internet will do them good, you think, since you find many answers for the information they ask of you online yourself. Your senior loved one will find the prospect of doing it themselves educational and positively inspiring.
However, with advanced technology comes a lot of responsibility. There are risks in entering uncharted waters and smartphone safety issues associated with seniors’ use of them.
In this blog, we will be tackling some common smartphone safety issues and how to address them with your senior.
Treat your phone like a computer
Smartphones of today are a much-preferred way to the web as opposed to laptops or desktop PCs. People use smartphone apps more now as they are convenient, and seniors are following suit. However—and this includes everyone—people tend to be less careless when physically keeping their phones protected. They would not be as mindful as they are of laptops and PCs and their protection about their smartphones.
Have your seniors treat their phone like a computer. It is not merely a handset. Opt for a bit of protective gear and screen films for their phones to ensure their physical safety against accidental falls, water damage, and so on.
Stay wary of phishing scams
Anyone today, who has once shopped online or left their contact info at a local store post-purchase, will find them a marketing spamming victim. While it is essential to know spam from genuine offers, it is even more so with phishing scams. Once in a blue moon, you might receive an email or an SMS with a link to buy some product or watch some video from hackers. Upon clicking, they will hack into your phone and will have gained access.
While late-born Millennials and Generation-Z customers may not be as easily tricked, seniors and aging parents are all the more vulnerable. Make sure your senior knows that not every text, email, or offer is genuine and never give away close-to-home data through emails or IM. Help them make use of spamming and phishing filters to stay safe.
Public WiFi 101
Public Wi-Fi is the most susceptible to data leakage and privacy invasion. When at the neighbourhood coffeehouse, a restaurant, or mall and you find yourself in need of the internet, be wary. Try using cellular data.
If your senior doesn’t purchase those kinds of packages, then ensure that they understand that using applications like those of social media platforms, banking, and others that require personal, sensitive information is ill-advised over public Wi-Fi.
Tricksters or the criminally tech-savvy can easily stream, if they are also using the same Wi-Fi as you, to snare away at any passwords and record data.
According to the Huffington Post, about 40% of smartphone owners do not set up either a password or fingerprint lock on their phones. This is an immense mistake. A secret phrase or passcode is essential to keep any hoodlums from recording your data and information. In case your phone is stolen, the thief will not be able to unlock your phone. With a fingerprint lock enabled, unlocking the phone will be rendered impossible.
Seniors have issues memorizing, so make sure yours puts in a passcode that they can easily recall, like a birthdate, for example. In such cases of memory, fingerprint sensors are the safest.
Find my phone
Phones from all manufacturers now are accompanied by a preloaded, find-my-phone application. With this feature activated, users who have lost their phone can distantly discover where it is via location detection from another phone, a tablet, laptop, or desktop PC. This is an incredible method to recover lost or stolen phones.
Seniors can, in particular, find this option useful. They are not as mindful of their possessions, and more often than not, there are instances where they forget where they kept something, misplace an object, or lose it altogether. So, have them activate this feature and ensure safety.
Inaccuracy of healthcare apps
Healthcare, wellbeing, and companions apps are all the rage today with the inception of fitness trackers, smartbands, and smartwatches. People today are smarter and are frequent users of such devices. Who needs to consult a physician to check their blood pressure? These devices and others like them provide more than we can ask for; all that is left is a doctor’s prescription—for non-OTC medication.
However, one cannot rely on these devices as they do not yield the most accurate results. Ensure your senior knows this, so they are safe from being misguided and stay in regular contact with you, another overseer, or their doctor.
Also, our phones and these devices have vibration for reminders, harsh lights, and sounds. Seniors are advised then not to overuse their phones, keep them in their front pockets etc.
Maps are not always right
Another thing with smartphones: Maps. We rely too heavily on location applications like Google maps. They are accurate more than half the time, but there is still a half that is remaining. You may end from point A to B smoothly and accurately, but what these maps fail to detect is context.
They may, hence, redirect you to drive through places you would not generally at times. They also fail to consider occurrences like an unexpected accident on the road, where the authorities have maintained a blockage and are redirecting traffic. You will first have to drive until that blockade if no one returning tells you or you’re the first, then go the right way.
Be wary while using a map or location application!
We hope you found this blog useful and that you can help your seniors get more acquainted with their devices. Always practice caution and keep yourself well-read on these issues and ask the same of them. Enjoy your phones! Stay safe.