A Guide to Mobile Device Security and Phone Plans for Seniors
More people have mobile devices today than ever before. In fact, more than 5 billion people have one — half of them being smartphones — and this number is increasing rapidly with each passing year. This means that nearly two-thirds of the global population has a mobile device.
Seniors, many of whom may be reluctant to adopt new technology, can benefit from getting a mobile device. It enables them to connect with others in a wide variety of new and exciting ways. This guide will discuss the benefits of mobile technology for seniors, then provide practical advice for selecting a phone plan and securing a device against potential security concerns.
Why Is a Cell Phone Important for Seniors?
Individuals may face many new concerns in their later years of life. Seniors may contend with social isolation, potential health problems, and accessibility issues (such as diminished sight or hearing). They might also often have limited finances, making seeking a solution to these issues somewhat difficult.
Cell phones can help with many of these concerns, and they’re becoming more affordable as time goes on. They can keep seniors connected to loved ones and provide access to revolutionary healthcare apps. Many of them are designed with a variety of accessibility options. There are many benefits — and a few drawbacks — to getting a cell phone as a senior.
Benefits of Cell Phones for Seniors
Having a mobile device provides seniors with countless options:
Drawbacks of Cell Phones for Seniors
There are also a few negatives to keep in mind when considering a phone plan:
Selecting Cell Phones for Seniors
There are many different phones that are well-suited for seniors. Determining the right one depends entirely on the needs of the individual. If vision is a concern, for example, a phone with a large screen and accessible font options is ideal. If gripping items is a concern, seek out a durable phone. On the other hand, there are many advanced health monitoring apps, and most of these will require a smartphone. If these would be beneficial, investigate smartphone options.
Types of Phones
It can be hard to determine where you should start when looking at different types of phones. There are many different phone brands out there today, but most models fall into one of two categories: basic phones and smartphones.
Basic phones are mobile devices that allow users to make calls and send or receive texts, but they aren’t capable of much beyond that. If you want a phone strictly to make calls and send texts, this is a cheap and easy-to-use option, though they have restrictive capabilities. These devices generally have buttons — not touchscreens.
Smartphones are the most common option for modern consumers. While these have traditionally been quite expensive, they’ve gotten much more affordable in recent years. They’re equipped with advanced operating systems and are equipped to take advantage of fast internet speeds. They’re equipped with high-fidelity cameras and allow consumers to use advanced software too. Smartphones generally have touchscreens.
To choose between these options, consider why you are buying a phone in the first place. Are you looking for the most affordable option and are only interested in making calls or exchanging texts? A basic phone should meet your needs. Are you interested in taking advantage of the benefits of advanced technology, which enables you to interact with friends and family in a multitude of new and fun ways? Do you want to take advantage of health monitoring apps? You may benefit more from a smartphone than a basic model. Weigh your options carefully before making a decision.
Best Cell Phone Plans for Seniors
Seniors must balance a wide variety of considerations when selecting a phone plan. Certain features can make phone plans better fits for this demographic. When reviewing phone plans, keep an eye out for options that include the following:
Mobile Device Security for Seniors
Mobile device security can seem complicated, and overcoming the perceived learning curve necessary to obtain and use a phone safely may feel intimidating. However, understanding the basics and best practices needed to use a smartphone safely is not as tough as you might think.
Why Is Mobile Device Security Important for Seniors?
As mobile technology has gotten more advanced, so have the methods that scammers employ to take advantage of users. As more mobile devices are connected online, more people and data are at risk than ever before. Mobile device security is now vital, particularly for seniors.
Seniors are heavily targeted by scammers. This demographic holds most of the wealth in America, and they are more vulnerable to financial exploitation. Common factors like social isolation, a lack of support systems, and age-related changes to the brain can make some seniors predisposed to being victimized in this manner.
Neuroscientist Nathan Spreng noted that many seniors have physical differences in their brains that may indicate a disposition to being scammed. An article that discusses his findings notes that as we age we experience “a thinning of the part of the brain called the ‘insula,’ which, along with a lot of other things, may help us trigger our ‘spidey sense,’ the hunch that can warn us away from dicey financial situations.”
Common Phone Scams
Mobile device security can also protect seniors from a wide variety of phone scams. Common examples of these include:
How to Secure Mobile Devices
Senior citizens, often the target of online scammers, must be vigilant when they use mobile devices. If they want to protect their mobile device and personal information, they must be aware of the security measures and best practices for doing so. Follow the below advice to get on the right track in regards to cybersecurity.
Strategies to Stay Safe Online
Even with the most recent updates and robust security software, there are always risks seniors may encounter online. However, you can mitigate these risks by following certain best practices when accessing the internet: