The Rapidian

Technology maven offers senior adults tips for Internet shopping, banking and more

Area senior adults learned to safely navigate the Internet during an educational seminar led by Abby Stokes, author of “Is This Thing On,” and hosted by Covenant Village of the Great Lakes.
Author Abby Stokes shares tips for safely navigating the Internet.

Author Abby Stokes shares tips for safely navigating the Internet.

Area senior adults learned to safely navigate the Internet during an educational seminar led by Abby Stokes, author of “Is This Thing On,” and hosted by Covenant Village of the Great Lakes, a faith-based, not-for-profit, continuing care retirement community operated by Covenant Retirement Communities.

“The Internet brings the world to our fingertips,” says Richard Kline, executive director at Covenant Village of the Great Lakes.  “Abby’s wireless primer gives senior adults the knowledge and confidence they need to navigate the Internet and embrace everything that technology has to offer.”

During Stokes’ appearance, more than 20 senior adults learned about Internet safety, mobile banking, online shopping, and payment sites such as PayPal. She also discussed the importance of choosing effective passwords when setting up online accounts.

“Ninety percent of passwords can be broken in 20 minutes or less,” says the technology maven. “It’s vital to choose a secure password that cannot be easily guessed.”

Stokes recommends following these five tips when choosing a password:

        •  Avoid using public information, such as birth dates or family names.

        •  Use at least eight characters.

        •  Use a combination of letters and numbers.

        •  Use at least one capital letter.

        •  Write down your password in safe place.

For those having difficulty coming up with a password, Stokes offered sample passwords that anyone can easily translate and remember. For example:

        •  Dont4g3t = Don’t forget.

        •  sKOObsdiK = kids books (backwards)

Although online shopping is a convenient for people of all ages, Stokes says the first rule is to avoid anything that makes you uncomfortable. “There is no obligation to shop online,” she explains. “If you choose to shop, however, follow these guidelines:

        •  Get a separate credit card for online shopping.

        •  Test the waters with familiar website stores, such as Macy’s or LL Bean.

        •  Pay attention: When checking out on the payment page, look in the website address box. It should change from http:// to https://. Think “S” for security.”

Avoiding online scams and SPAM starts with following good “netiquette,” Stokes says. For starters:

        •  Always blind carbon copy (BCC) when sending a group email to respect the recipient’s privacy.

        •  Delete previous recipients’ email addresses before forwarding an email.

        •  Always include a specific subject so the recipient is confident who is sending the email.

“The Internet opens the door to a world of opportunity for seniors,” Stokes says. “It’s an honor to work with communities like Covenant Village of the Great Lakes to help seniors develop the technical skills that will enrich their lives.”

Stokes concluded her presentation by discussing how to safely research information about travel, health and finance.

Abby Stokes has helped almost 250,000 people understand and navigate the latest technology and tools including the Internet, computers, tablets, smart phones and email. She says she firmly believes that, “If my mother can learn the computer anyone can.”

 

About Covenant Village of the Great Lakes

Covenant Village of the Great Lakes, a faith-based, not-for-profit continuing care retirement community, is located at 2510 Lake Michigan Drive N.W., Grand Rapids, Mich. It is administered by Covenant Retirement Communities, one of the nation’s largest not-for-profit senior services providers. Covenant Retirement Communities serves 5,000 residents at 15 retirement communities nationwide and is a ministry of the Evangelical Covenant Church. For more information on Covenant Village of the Great Lakes, visit www.CovenantGreatLakes.org or call 877-812-8745. 

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