Studies offered by Pew Research show that seniors who are active on social media experience lower rates of depression, a deep sense of remaining connected to their loved ones, and are happier than those who are unfamiliar or uncomfortable using platforms like Facebook.
Over 50 percent of seniors throughout the United States use social media websites at least once per day, mostly for:
- Staying close to family members
- Exploring new hobbies and interests
- Reconnecting with past friends
- Talking to other like-minded seniors
- Sending/receiving pictures of grandchildren
Social Media Etiquette for Seniors
Considering how social media use continues to grow among seniors, it’s a good idea to be aware of common mistakes that can leave you vulnerable to personal and financial harm.
Check out the following information that can help you maximize the value of social media without compromising your welfare.
Don’t Share Too Much Personal Information
Most social media websites will request your name, birth date, and location to sign up, but you can adjust your personal settings so that the rest of the world does not have access to such personal details.
Do not share or message others with details regarding personal bank accounts or your social security number to protect your assets and identity.
If you are planning an upcoming trip or vacation, do not publicly publish any information around where you are going and how long you will be gone for to protect yourself from burglars.
To protect your children and grandchildren from online predators, do not share their personal information with the public, such as their names, ages, the schools they attend, or their home addresses. If you are trying to communicate these details to another family member or friend, send them a direct message instead.
Sharing Images and Pictures on Social Media
It may be tempting to share an image or a picture that a loved one has posted, but it’s important to remain cautious when considering this action.
The person who originally posted such content may have privacy settings in place that are compromised when you share it with your friends and followers. You should also ask others if they are comfortable with you posting pictures of them, especially if children are involved.
Considering the risks associated with cyber bullying and identity theft, the best thing you can do is to ask before you publicly share pictures of young family members or friends.
Be Careful What You Comment On
Social media websites give users the freedom to express personal opinions about popular or trending topics.
Just because you can tell the world what you think or believe in, doesn’t mean you should when it comes to protecting yourself and those you love.
Be mindful of how your comments may be perceived, especially when discussing other people’s attributes or personal choices.
You don’t want to accidentally offend someone you care about because of something you said or posted online.
If you see someone you know engaging in an online debate or arguing, try to resist the temptation of jumping in to speak on behalf of your loved one. Putting yourself in between other’s arguments or debates may seem intrusive or overbearing, and may cause embarrassment if you aren’t aware of the context of their conversation.
How Seniors Can Express Their Feelings and Ideas on Social Media
Now that you understand the rules for protecting yourself and your loved ones when using social media, it’s important to know more granular details that speak to how you express yourself.
- Do not post messages or share comments with ALL CAPS. Doing so tells others that you are upset and yelling, rather than making a point.
- Emoji’s or small pictures that express emotions are meant to support your thoughts and opinions e.g. What a beautiful day in Beaverton!!! Try not to use too many emoji’s though, as they may become annoying to your friends and followers or cause your message to become confusing to understand.
- Hashtags (posts that include the # symbol) are meant to organize pictures and posts so that they can easily be found by others social media users. Use these when trying to share content that directly relates to specific friends and family members, such as family vacation photos or reunion updates.
The Best Way to Learn Social Media Etiquette Is to Practice – Start Today!
Knowing every point associated with proper social media etiquette is not as important as understanding basic rules that help protect the privacy of you and your loved ones.
Although it’s great to keep each of these points in mind when communicating or sharing information online, it’s important not to allow yourself to be intimidated and turned off by social media.
Websites like Facebook and LinkedIn allow you to stay connected with loved ones, learn new information about world events, and meet with like-minded seniors throughout Beaverton.
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12520 SW Hart Road
Beaverton, OR 97008
10880 SW Davies Rd
Beaverton, OR 97008