With the Circuit Breaker measures in place, most people are spending more time online working, learning, staying entertained or remaining socially connected. However, many seniors are finding this period exceptionally challenging as they may not be familiar with technology or how the internet functions. As a result, many of them may feel bored at home and cut off from their loved ones or friends who they used to meet daily at the void deck or neighbourhood coffeeshop.
If you have a senior living with you at home, take the time to teach them how to surf the internet for news or interesting content, and introduce them to messaging apps such as WhatsApp to help them stay connected! If your elderly parent or grandparent doesn’t live with you, you can still call them on their home telephone and slowly guide them as they use their mobile phones.
As your senior family member becomes more familiar with the internet, it is important to educate him/her on sound online practices and empower them to identify scams or fake news.
Last year, TOUCH Cyber Wellness and the Elderly Group at TOUCH, together with Facebook, our Community Partner, ran the Digitally Ready Seniors programme to empower seniors to be more tech-savvy. Here are some top tips shared during the programme to ensure that our seniors remain cyber safe and well as they navigate the online sphere.
Use strong and unique passwords that are different across all your accounts. People often use simple and common passwords such as birth dates or their names across multiple accounts for fear of forgetting their passwords. This increases the possibility of their accounts getting hacked.
A strong password is one which has:
- At least 8 characters
- Lower and uppercase letters
- Special characters (e.g. ! $ # & *)
Do not save or store your passwords online or share your passwords with others.
Do not tap on any suspicious or unverified links / pop-up ads and do not install unknown apps on your devices. One way that hackers use to infect computers with malware is by sending their victims emails and luring them to click on a link or open an attachment. Such emails are known as “phishing emails”. Make an effort to download anti-virus programmes that filter phishing emails and always check that the emails you receive are sent by someone you know.
Beware of scams and protect yourself from them. If you sense that something is wrong or someone is asking you for money or your particulars such as your NRIC, check in with another family member or call the Anti-Scam Hotline at 1800 722 6688.
Do also join the ScamAlert WhatsApp Group to keep abreast of the latest scams.
For seniors who are more tech-savvy and who do online shopping or banking, be careful of who you are sending money to on mobile payment platforms. Set withdrawal limits through your online banking settings and opt for automatic alerts when a payment or withdrawal is made.
Keep these tips in mind as you guide your elderly family member in becoming more tech-savvy and cyber well!