Use strong and unique passwords for your social media accounts and never share your passwords with anyone, unless you’ve designated someone you trust to manage your accounts. One reason for this precaution is to prevent someone from using your account to impersonate you— perhaps asking your friends and family to “help you out” by wiring “you” money in an “emergency,” which is a common scam.
Use privacy settings. Most services have settings that let you control who can see what you post. Facebook, for example, has extensive controls, letting you post to only friends, your friends and their friends, or everyone on Facebook. You can also limit specific posts to a smaller group like only family members or specific people (you’ll find more on privacy settings at ConnectSafely.org/seniors).
Report abuse from anyone, including friends, family and caregivers. We hear a lot about children being “cyberbullied,” but it also happens to adults, including seniors. If you are getting messages on social media or in email that are threatening, mean, extremely angry, accusatory or in any way abusive, don’t respond; reach out for help and support from someone you trust or from adult protective services or law enforcement, and report the behavior to the site or service. All major social media companies, and online and mobile service providers have employees that respond to abuse complaints. ConnectSafely has links to abuse and privacy pages for major social networking and Internet and mobile service companies at ConnectSafely.org/seniors.