Facebook is one of the most popular social networking sites on the internet. Many users are teenagers and young adults, but there is a growing number of older adults now on Facebook. There are about 36.5 million senior citizens in the United States, making up about 5.4 percent of all internet users. 35.9 percent of seniors regularly access the internet.
Facebook is a great tool to keep family members in touch in light of our geographically dispersed culture. Many long distance grandparents would love to know how to stay better connected with children and grandchildren. If you are eager to help your loved one stay in touch with the rest of the family through Facebook, then check out the following suggestion on how to get a senior citizen connected on Facebook.
1. Stay open-minded: No matter how old someone is, he or she can still learn technology. Oftentimes the barrier to getting a senior on Facebook is their attitude or the attitude of the younger generation thinking it is pointless to teach the older generations about technology. Seniors typically care a lot about communication with family members and friends, and with the right explanation of the purpose and benefits of Facebook, senior citizens are typically open to joining the social network community.
2. Explain the purpose of Facebook: Unless you have been asked by an elderly person how to use Facebook, this might be the biggest obstacle you will face. Have persuasive reasons ready such as how great and easy it is to find old friends, that it can be a way to keep in touch with the rest of the family, and that you can play games and get free deals or specials.
3. Explain the basics before opening an account: Facebook can get confusing for people who are new to social networking, whatever their age. If you have an account, you might want to log in and give your elderly friend a visual tour of Facebook. Make sure to work through it slow, methodically, and avoid using online jargon. Be patient and willing to go over things again. Let the senior have some hands on experience like searching for a friend.
5. Help create the account: Make sure the senior has a valid email address before starting to sign them up for Facebook. When creating the account, help the senior fill in all the required fields. Show them how to customize privacy settings as you go through this process. Make sure to they know what is and what is not searchable by other people online, and respect the extent of privacy they desire. It might help to print out the account steps in large print as many older adults learn more quickly by reading instructions and explanations on paper.
6. Demonstrate how to add information to a profile: An email address and birthday are pretty bare for a Facebook profile. Help the senior add information they desire such as current or former places of employment, high school or colleges, likes and interests, and contact information. Only add the information they are comfortable with providing.
7. Teach about joining networks, groups, and pages: Demonstrate to the senior how he or she can join a school or workplace network. Also show them how to become a member of a group or page that pertains to their interests. This can be a great way for the senior to reconnect with old friends, coworkers, relatives, and classmates.
8. Encourage the sharing of wisdom to Facebook: We can all learn from what senior citizens have to share. Encourage the senior to share stories, thoughts, ideas, and wisdom with others on Facebook. Teach them how to share on their own walls, make remarks on other people’s walls, and like comments made by friends and family.
9. Let it be: If you have tried and your elderly friend still does not want to learn Facebook, be understanding. The senior may desire to use their time differently or just not want to be connected through the internet. Remember that there are many other ways of staying in touch without the use of Facebook. If teaching Facebook is unsuccessful, you can always try your hand teaching Skype.