CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Not only is the 50-plus crowd on the internet but they're using social networking at a new pace.
It's been shown in studies that people over 50 who can use a computer and access the internet appear to be less depressed then peers their age and it may also help with ongoing mental health because of the social access and ability to read information about events, hobbies and interests that might otherwise not be available.
AARP did a recent report of the 50+ set and found that this age group is increasingly embracing social-networking sites. According to another poll released by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, usage has grown to almost 42% for people in the 50+ age group. Within this group using the internet, 1 in 4 engaging in social networking and 23% are using Facebook. This number is expected to climb.
Asked their "comfort" level of getting around the internet:
17% of this group said they are "extremely comfortable"
23% are "very comfortable"
only 9% said "not very comfortable"
13% said "not at all"
WBTV's Cyber Expert, Theresa Payton, says this is all great news but it also leaves this group vulnerable to spam and scams.
Theresa recommends that the "old school" rules still apply:
1. Don't talk to strangers
2. If it sounds too good to be true, it most likely is
3. You don't take candy from strangers so don't open files or links sent to you by strangers
Top 3 scams to worry about for the 50+?
1-Opening "greeting cards", clicking on links, or opening files that are really spam or filled with viruses
2-Emails about sweepstakes and winning the lottery
3-Clicking on pop up windows that say the computer is not protected and by clicking the notification it will be
Theresa offers 6 quick tips to provide protections for the 50+:
1. Never click on links or open files, even if you know the sender, without asking them about it first
2. Up to date virus protection, browser software, and operating software
3. If you don't remember entering a sweepstakes or lottery, you probably did not
4. Never send bank account information via email or social networking sites
5. Consider an internet class at your local library or community college
6. Ignore pop ups and set your browser settings to block pop ups will eliminate most of these pesky ads and scareware
call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357).
Test your internet knowledge to help you avoid being a victim by playing fun but educational internet safety games made for adults at www.OnGuardOnline.gov . They also have helpful videos and scam alerts posted on the site.
This week's word of the week is SHAZAM.