How to protect your senior parents online

(NC) The so-called sandwich generation faces a tough time, juggling care and responsibilities of aging parents and young children. But while you’re likely very aware of the dangers the internet pose for your kids, did you know seniors are also vulnerable?

While they may not have grown up with the internet, like everyone else they use it to stay connected, organize things and make their lives more convenient. As they become increasingly active online, you can help them stay safe with these three tips:

1. Password security. Because seniors are a frequent target of cybercrime, it is important to explain the importance of using strong passwords. Suggest mixing up characters, numbers, letters, and cases, and using different passwords for different accounts. A password manager app that securely helps them keep track of all their passwords using only one login credential, like Last Pass, is a great idea.

2. A backup never hurts. Ask your parents to share their passwords with you so they need not worry about misplacing important information like banking details and social media accounts. If you ever need to access an account on their behalf, you’ll have everything you need.

3. Ask a professional. “Today, the online tools designed specifically for seniors are incredibly versatile and include everything from electronic medical records to digital estate planners. As these require personal information, make sure your parents choose reputable ones,” recommends Shelly Smith, director of Telus Wise (Wise Internet and Smartphone Education).

Help your parents talk to their health care providers to decide on the best tools to use when it comes to medical records and health and fitness apps. As always, make sure they only download them from trusted sources. This will ensure that sensitive personal information stays secure and is only accessible to trusted professionals.

Learn more about smartphone safety for seniors online at

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