I am a volunteer leader for a senior group and need some online safety advice


Dear Benchmark,

The pastor at my church convinced me to take on a new volunteer project. He has been trying to organize events and activities for senior parishioners to participate in each month but doesn’t have the time it takes to keep the program running smoothly.

When I surveyed the members about their interests, an overwhelming number of them want to learn more about using email and social media. While I am comfortable showing them how to set up email accounts and a Facebook page, I’m less easy about teaching them how to stay safe. I think I might need to devote a session of our senior group meetings to covering online safety.

Since you and your team work with older adults every day, I thought that you might have a few resources I could use to create this kind of training. Any advice you can share would be much appreciated!


Online Safety Resources for Seniors

Dear Renee:

That sounds like a big volunteer assignment! And a meaningful one. I agree that any online training workshops for seniors should definitely include steps they can take to stay safe.

I checked with the life enrichment team members who often help residents at Benchmark Senior Living communities learn how to use their tablets and laptops. We pulled together this list of resources we hope you will find helpful in creating your safety training.

National Cyber Security Alliance: While this site is geared to online users of all ages and not just seniors, it is one of the best resources for learning and for finding tools to help you educate others. You will find information on setting up a safe home WiFi to what to do if you think you’ve been hacked.
Cyber Tips for Older Americans: Created by the Department of Homeland Security, this tip sheet is full of helpful information for seniors. It covers topics ranging from online shopping to seeking medical advice online.
Senior Online Safety (SOS): Another site you will find useful and might even consider subscribing to is SOS. They routinely publish “Alerts” to help keep older adults safe online. Recent alerts have included information about a WordPress security threat and a cyber romance scam.
The Senior’s Guide to Online Safety: This resource covers everything from dealing with spam to advice for safely using online dating sites.

And if you think videos might be an interesting addition to your training, here are a few you can share with your senior group:

Internet Security Tips for Seniors: From Sixty & Me, this 15-minute YouTube video covers internet safety and privacy concerns.
AARP Academy: This resource center is home to a variety of videos and webinars. An entire section is devoted to Online Safety. Here you will find videos on topics ranging from Targeted Advertising to Creating a Strong Password.

I hope these resources help you put together a great training for your senior group, Renee!

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