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High Tech (to Keep in) High Touch

Published by Chapster on 2004/12/20 (3805 reads)
Recorded live in the KEOM studios in Mesquite, Texas with Dr. James Griffin, Station Director.

High Tech (to Keep in) High Touch
KEOM & ElderHope
December 14, 2004

Dr. Griffin: Hi, Mike. I understand that today we're talking about the internet. That's a little change from our usual topic. What does it have to do with aging?


Mike: I bring it up today because the internet can be such a rich resource for the elderly and for addressing concerns that are very real to them. Especially around the holidays. the internet can make gift giving quite a bit easier when we use reputable businesses. I often use Amazon.com and cannot remember one time where I was dissatisfied with either their service. Online purchasing can relieve some of the wear and tear of going out and searching for gifts. It can also help loved ones who are some distance away to feel in contact and a part of life. The internet has helped many folks immeasurably by giving them easier access to their loved ones by way of emaiil, access to pictures and easier contact with them.

Dr. Griffin: At the same time, there are dangers to being on the internet, right?

Mike: Yes, absolutely.

There is considerable fraud and identity theft accomplished through the internet. And this absolutely has to be taken into account. The Department of Homeland Security has issued recommendations that internet users avoid using Internet Explorer, as it is outdated and is prone to major security concerns. And, that's what I hope to offer some advice on today. First, I would recommend adding a new browser to your computer. We recommend a browser called Firefox. This new browser is easy to install, free, and a relatively quick download. It blocks pop-ups and a lot of the intrusive commercial advertising. Listeners should keep their Internet Explorer for pages that don't work right on Firefox or other browsers.

Dr. Griffin: Isn't e-mail a similar concern?

Mike: Yes, indeed, it is. There is also an email program that is much more secure named Thunderbird. It greatly increases the security of email and blocks quite a bit of spam and spyware, innately. Both Thunderbird and Firefox are absolutely free.

Dr. Griffin: What else do we need to keep in mind?

Mike: For safe use of the internet, we need to have an up-to-date antivirus package. There are many such programs available. Whichever one you choose, it should have the ability to update itself when you go on the internet. Then make sure that the setting is turned on to do so.

If you do use Internet Explorer you need to regularly update your windows and Internet Explorer installation to protect against vulnerabilities.

Avoid sites that travel in questionable subjects - they are most often the ones that will, big surprise here, hit you with spying tools and dangerous code.

Use plain text to send and receive email.

And, never, never, never click on a link in an email that you didn't request email from. Email from a person that you didn't invite to send email is likely from someone seeking to fraudulently obtain information about you, or seeking to harm your computer.

Finally, share your email address only with friends and reputable businesses.

I love the internet. I make many, many purchases on the internet. It saves me time and money. It also keeps me in closer contact with family and friends. Traveling it safely requires only common sense, good software, and a desire to broaden our horizons carefully.

Tags: elderly   internet   computer   theft   identity  

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