Technology tips for seniors

Many senior citizens rely on the Internet and technology, such as mobile phones and tablets, for their everyday communication and entertainment needs.  Though it can be incredibly helpful, the ever-changing nature of technology can be daunting for those unfamiliar with how it all works. Here are some simple technology tips for seniors wanting to make the most out of their gadgets and digital tools.

Smartphones

While smartphones may seem intimidating to use, they have a variety of functions and settings that allow for personal customisation. This means that you’ll be able to set up your smartphone the way you want it.

Change accessibility settings for easy reading

Though smartphones seem to be getting bigger display screens with every new generation model, the text size on screen can often be far too small to read, especially for older people. Thankfully, most smartphones offer accessibility and display settings that will allow you to increase the text size, read out content through the voice function, zoom in or out, and magnify text.

On iPhone devices, you can find these settings under Settings > Display & Brightness > Text Size and Settings > General > Accessibility. On Android devices, these settings can be changed via Settings > Display > Font Size.

Save contact details for family and friends

Gone are the days of having to memorise the phone numbers and contact information for your family and friends. Almost all smartphones now allow you to store saved contact details, so that you no longer have to remember them or type it into the phone each time you’re wanting to make a phone call or send a text message.

Not only can you store contact information on your phone, you can also group certain contacts, such as family members or emergency contacts, together, or even add those you are likely to contact most often into your favourites list.

Mobile plans

To be able to make and receive calls, access the internet and carry out other functions with your smartphone , you’ll need to sign up to either a prepaid or pay monthly mobile phone plan. Use Canstar Blue’s customer satisfaction table to find the mobile plan that best suits your needs.

Compare Mobile Phone Plans

Emails

Beware of emails from strangers

It’s a well-known fact that scammers often attempt to steal personal information by sending emails with attractive offers or competitions, or by embedding malware and viruses in links or attachments. You can avoid falling into this trap by not opening emails or clicking on the links and attachments in emails from people you don’t know.

Pay close attention to minute details, like the correct spelling of a person or company’s name, as spam and phishing emails are now more sophisticated and often designed to look legitimate. Remember: if something looks too good to be true, for example, receiving an email or attachment claiming that you’ve won a massive prize, then it probably is.

The internet

Use strong passwords

Password strength is one of the most important ways to keep private information secure online. Make sure to choose a unique password made up of a range of numbers, upper-case and lower-case letters and special characters, to ensure your password isn’t easily cracked.  To make life more difficult for hackers, choose something completely different each time and avoid using personal details such as birthdays, anniversaries, family names and such as passwords.

In addition, avoid sending your password details to others, especially via email or social media.

Read tips on how to remember passwords

Enable two-factor authentication

Many websites, email providers and social media platforms allow you the option to enable two-factor-authentication. This allows for an extra layer of security that requires you to prove that you are in fact, the user, before signing in.

The first step in the verification process is usually a password followed by the option of receiving a text message with a unique code, or using facial and voice recognition.

Keep your antivirus software up to date

Consider installing antivirus software onto your devices, if you haven’t already done so, and ensure that it is kept up to date.

Antivirus software work to protect your device from hackers, viruses and sometimes even malware. These tools are often available as free downloads and run in the background to scan your system for threats, without impacting your usage.

Choose the right broadband connection

Given that most technology these days require a broadband connection to access the Internet, you’ll need to find out which type of broadband connection will suit your needs best, depending on how you use your technology.

Use Canstar Blue’s customer satisfaction table to compare broadband service providers in New Zealand.

Compare Broadband Providers in New Zealand

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