Helping seniors set up Facebook can be a really daunting task. Their technological literacy is usually quite low and it may lead to odd Facebook posts and embarrassing comments. But you have to accept the fact that the internet and social media are new concepts for them, and approach this endeavor with love and patience.
Instead of getting frustrated, think about the benefits of teaching your parents or grandparents to connect with you and the world. As today’s families grow apart in distance and get dispersed, we all crave to spend more time communicating with our loved ones.
Moreover, studies suggest that using social media can help seniors increase their self-competence and sense of personal identity, and improve their cognitive capacity. All of this leads to better mental health and well-being.
Helping seniors set up Facebook can be easy
Now that we’ve determined that introducing your senior students to Facebook is beneficial, let’s see how you can do it painlessly. All you have to do is follow some simple tips.
Match their interests
You can make seniors learn faster if you engage their personal interests. Try to tie the advantages of using Facebook with their favorite activities. Modern technology is intimidating for most seniors, and you’ll have to make it fun.
One of the major reasons for seniors to go online is the opportunity to reconnect with family and friends. If you manage to show them that Facebook is the best tool for this, you’ll likely get their full attention. Explain how they can interact with you and the rest of the family. Then, talk about groups for reconnecting old high-school classmates or neighbors.
Next, tell them about all the information related to their hobbies, and the like-minded individuals they can find on Facebook. You can also play the Bingo card – mention the plethora of online games they can play with their friends. If the learning process goes well, you might even find yourself facing a problem getting them off the computer.
Keep things simple
The simpler you make things for seniors, the easier it will be for you to help them set up Facebook. If you manage to make the learning experience positive, it will make them feel more comfortable about exploring technology and online venues.
Try to get a computer or a tablet that is geared toward seniors, with simple features and a large keyboard. It will make it easier for your senior relative to start socializing online, without getting frustrated and overwhelmed.
As soon as you pick the perfect device, you can start your endeavor of helping seniors set up Facebook. Keep everything simple, take it slowly, repeat things, and stop to ask if they are following along. Remember that it’s normal for both you and them to feel frustrated at times. Just take a small break, and continue when both of you are ready.
Avoid using online jargon because it will only lead to confusions. Use a simple language that you are certain your relative understands. Translate all the Internet-related words you typically use, and replace them with more commonly known words until your senior Facebook student gets used to the new terminology.
Explain everything before setting up the account
Nowadays, Facebook has so many features and options, that it can be pretty confusing at first for anyone, regardless of their age. Therefore, it’s best to start talking about it before you open your parent’s/grandparent’s account.
Give them a short introduction, theoretically explaining the basics of the network. Then, log in your account to give them a visual overview of what you’re talking about. Remember to be patient and methodically introduce your senior student to the way of using a Facebook account.
More importantly, don’t forget to explain how not to use the account in order to avoid awkward and embarrassing moments online. You know, the usual not-to-dos include:
- posting and tagging photos of you without your permission
- sharing stories of your childhood
- commenting on each and every post you share
- sending friend requests to your friends
- asking how you’ve been on your timeline instead of using the messenger
Open the account together
Just like children, older adults learn best by doing things. Therefore, it’s best if they participate in the opening of their Facebook account. Adjust the font size and provide all the other conditions you think will make the learning process easier. You can even print out the steps for using the Facebook account on paper, in a large font.
If your senior relative doesn’t have an email address, create one and explain that all the Facebook notifications will be sent there. Write down the email address and password because seniors can easily forget such information.
Create the account together and make sure to fill in all the required fields. You can (and should) choose the profile photo together, as well. Show your relative how to customize the account settings, and repeat the steps to make sure they understand everything. Then, let them start using the new account and be ready for additional questions.
Warn them about the privacy issues
Don’t forget to explain to your senior relative what is searchable by other people online and what is not. Talk about the privacy settings and the issues which may arise if they don’t use their Facebook account carefully. The thing you need to remember here is to respect the extent of privacy they wish to enforce.
Be careful not to intimidate them into not using the internet. Just tell them that older adults are often victims of identity theft or online scams. Give them some tips that will help them protect their online privacy. Explain the threats of posting photos of family members and their home, especially with information about leaving the house for longer periods of time.
As much as Facebook is great for improving the social life of seniors, it can become a serious threat when it comes to sharing photos. Having in mind the need to share photo news and memories among family and close friends, we’ve created the Sherish app.
Sherish lets you keep your family connected by sharing old and new photos safely, only with the people you choose. Your shared albums are accessible to your family and friends on the web, anytime, anywhere. This makes it easy to download photos you want to use for holiday calendars and photo gifts. Learn how Sherish can help you maintain strong family bonds without compromising your privacy.