- Nora Roberts, Age 65
The internet has become a big part of life with more and more people are using email, social media, Skype, Facetime, and family blogs to communicate with friends and family members. The hand written letter, a real phone call or physical visit has been replaced by an electronic communication.
While this is good in some respects, especially for those who are unable to drive or travel much and for families who live far away from each other, it has also taken a lot from us as humans. You can't get a real hug from an email and a text isn't the same as hearing the voice of your child or best friend. The key, I believe, is a mixture of all forms of communication.
As baby boomers, we need to be able to use a computer. We need to be able to send emails and participate in social media in order to stay in contact with our young grandchildren and family or perhaps, even a lot of our friends. If you don't participate because of fear or because you don't know how to use it, you really should consider learning. You don't need to know a lot, it's not that hard, and in most cases, a family member or friend will be happy to teach you. If a friend or family member is not avaliable, your local community college or some high schools have programs (often free) to teach you the basics. Of course, you can always just turn it on and figure it out. You owe it to yourself to learn so that you can stay involved in the lives of people you know.
If you have a computer and you want to learn how to do something - like use a new program, send emails, or virtually anything - try YouTube. Just put YouTube in the search bar on your Google page and hit enter. You will find videos on everything. There are videos on make-up, sending emails, cooking, sewing, texting, anything you can thing of. You can search through the videos for specific subjects you want to study. It is a great tool.
My mother taught herself to use the computer by just doing. Before she became ill with dementia, she could play internet games, send emails, and used messaging to stay in touch with me and my sister. I lived 1200 miles away and we would often video chat (all three of us, many times). My mother loved to play Literati, a Yahoo game, and she was very good at it. She has since passed away at the age of 79, but we always were able to stay in touch by phone and computer. If she had been afraid to learn to use a computer or to learn new programs on the computer, we would have lost that opportunity to see each other face to face and talk.
There are so many wonderful things on the internet to keep in touch with people and to learn new skills or just to entertain yourself. Here is a word of caution, there are people who put things up and want you to give them your personal information so that they can harm you....DO NOT GIVE OUT ANY PERSONAL INFORMATION ON THE INTERNET!
If you find a newsletter or a blog (like this one) you want want to follow or receive information about, you should never have to give more than the following two things:
⦁ Your first name
⦁ Your email address
Never give out the following or any other personal information any where on the internet! NEVER!
⦁ Full Name
⦁ Phone Number
⦁ Bank Name
⦁ Bank Account Numbers
⦁ Debit Card Number
⦁ Credit card numbers (unless you are purchasing something from a well known site like: Amazon, eBay, Etsy, Walmart, etc.) Never to a site you don't know anything about.
⦁ Children or Grandchildren's names, address, age, etc.
⦁ ANYTHING ELSE THAT IS PERSONAL!
Please don't let this scare you and keep you from exploring the internet and learning to use it. If you practice safe habits by not going to illegal sites or clicking on something you don't fully understand and you don't put your personal information out there---you will be fine. Just think about what you are doing BEFORE you do it and you will enjoy the benefits of the internet.
REMEMBER: You don't drive your car with your credit card number painted on the side of it, blindfolded, or without obeying the laws...and you still drive, right? Do the same with the computer --- don't put your personal information on it, obey good rules, and keep your eyes and mind open before you click on something.
Are you active in all forms of electronic communication: email, texting, messaging, social media, and video chatting? Do you take classes to learn new skills and expand your computer literacy? What is your favorite thing about the internet?