Internet Safety Tips for Baby Boomers and Other Social Media Users During the Holiday Season

According to a 2010 eMarketer report, approximately 47% of baby boomers maintain a profile on at least one social media network. Almost two-thirds of that percentage maintain a profile on Facebook.

Boomers choose Facebook for the simplicity of maintaining connections with family, friends and co-workers. It’s fun to see what everyone is up to. But during the holiday season, it can also be easy for loneliness and social isolation to creep in while reading happy updates from friends and family who are busy enjoying the holidays.

Unfortunately, there are people who will take advantage of holiday loneliness and social isolation among social media users, and you may see an increase in requests and e-mails from Facebook users you don’t know. It is important to know how to protect yourself from unwanted messages and connection requests from scammers.

It is a violation of Facebook terms of use to open an account with fictitious information. However, it is an impossible task for Facebook to verify that their 5 million users are all who they say they are, and important for each user to take steps to ensure his or her safety online.

Receiving an unwanted message or seeing an unwanted post on your Wall can feel very unnerving and threatening. Here is how to keep your account safe from those who mean harm.

Stop Receiving Unwanted Messages: If you receive a message from a stranger that makes you uncomfortable, simply click the “Report Message” link under the name and photo of the sender. (You can only report those who are not on your Friends list.) Then, go to the Privacy Settings page and add that person’s name to the “Block List.” Facebook Users are not notified when someone blocks them. You may also keep others you don’t know personally from finding you easily in searches by editing your “Basic Directory Information” on the Privacy Settings page.

Stop Receiving Unwanted Wall Postings: Sometimes it’s hard to tell whether or not to accept a connection request – not enough information is provided to be certain you know the person requesting. If you’ve made the mistake of accepting a connection request from someone who posts things to your Wall that you find offensive or threatening in any way, you can simply click the “Remove” link that appears on the post, and remove the person as your Friend on your Friends page. Then follow the instructions above to add them to your “Block List” so they will not contact you again.

Don’t cancel your account and important online connections with friends and family this holiday just because you receive unwanted messages and wall postings from scammers. Erase your fear by taking the steps necessary to protect your account.

Diane Carbo Registered Nurse has more than thirty five years in the nursing field. Her experience as a geriatric care manager, makes her uniquely qualified to help those who want to live out their lives in their own homes. Diane has developed a web site to make people aware of issues and options. You will find extensive helpful information that will be continually updated. Please visit Diane’s web site and Learn more about Baby boomers and Internet Safety. Sign up for “The Caring Advocate” her free newsletter and take advantage of a complimentary e-course Advocating For Yourself and Others


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  • LAAAC is managed by St. Barnabas Senior Services; Funded, in part, by Archstone Foundation.
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