How to Use the Internet for Senior Citizens: a Collection of the Internet Patrol’s Best Tips

How to Use the Internet for Seniors Our Best Tips
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The current virus situation has led to a surge in technology use among seniors. While reports of the elderly fear of technology may be overblown, there can be some barriers when it comes to older adults and technology use.

Here at the Internet Patrol we have collected information from several of our own how-to articles that are of particular interest to senior citizens using the Internet at this time, and for seniors who may not feel as Internet savvy as their kids, and even their grandchildren. Note that we said they may not feel as Internet savvy – the reality is that these seniors are every bit as capable of using these technologies, and may be even more security-conscious about doing so than their younger counterparts. So here we go!


Perhaps the service that has seen the most increase in use among senior citizens in the past few months is Zoom. Zoom is a video chat system that connects people across miles. Remember the opening sequence of the Brady Bunch? That’s pretty much Zoom in a nutshell.

brady bunch opening screen zoom

Originally pitched and used as a way for business teams to collaborate across distances, Zoom has been repurposed in a big way, and is now being used around the world by families and loved ones to stay connected in this time of social distancing.

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Zoom is not hard to figure out and use, in fact as with so many thing about the Internet, the very fact that there are “how to use” tutorials and videos can actually make it seem more complicated and daunting than it really is. Still, if you are someone who prefers to follow along with a how-to video or tutorial, Zoom actually offers free live online training nearly every weekday at 10:00 a.m. and/or 2:00 p.m. PST.

You may have heard about Zoom having security issues, including so-called “Zoombombing”, which is when someone who was not invited to join your Zoom session drops in anyways, often to disrupt things with some expletives. It’s pretty easy to thwart Zoombombing however; Zoom allows you to password protect your get-togethers, as well as to make people “wait” in a “waiting room” while waiting to join your meetup, and only those who you personally approve can actually gain access to your Zoom shindig.

How to Use Your Smartphone as a Webcam with Zoom or Other Services

Now, the talk about signing up for and using Zoom is all well and good, but what if you don’t have a webcam to use with Zoom? While it’s true that older adults are more likely to not have a webcam, they are also quite likely to have a smartphone. And guess what! You can use your smartphone as a webcam! Whether you have an iPhone or an Android phone, we’ve got you covered with our article on how to set up your smartphone as a webcam.

How to Cancel an Amazon Recurring Order

Many people have taken advantage of how easy it is to sign up for a monthly autoship with Amazon. However, as the pandemic has made finances tighter – and especially for those on a fixed income – senior citizens and others may be looking to cancel those recurring orders, so that they can maintain better control over where their money is going. But it’s not always easy to find the place where you can cancel that recurring automatic Amazon order. Here’s how:

After logging in to Amazon, click on the menu and select ‘Account & Lists’. This will open up a drop-down menu. Click on ‘Your Subscribe & Save Items’. This will show you the items for which you have set up a subscription (recurring order). Hover over the item that you want to cancel to reveal the ‘Edit’ and ‘Skip’ buttons.

How to Cancel a Recurring Amazon Order ediit

If you just want to skip the next automatic order, click on ‘Skip’; if you want to cancel it entirely, click on ‘Edit’, which will bring up the option to cancel.

For a more detailed explanation of cancelling a recurring Amazon order, along with more pictures, see our article on how to cancel a recurring Amazon order.

How to Make Sure That Your Privacy Settings on Facebook are What You Want Them to Be

A lot of older folks are finding that they are turning to Facebook more often in order to keep up with old friends, new friends, grandkids, and other family and loved ones. Which means they are wanting to control just who can see what they put on Facebook.

There are a few different ways to get to those privacy settings, which of course, instead of making it easier to find those settings, makes it harder to find them. So here you go, if you click on this link, or copy and paste it into your browser, it should take you directly to your privacy settings – of course you have to already be logged into Facebook before you click on this link:

Now, this lets you set your privacy settings for things that you do on Facebook. However, there are different settings for who can see what you share on Facebook from another website. For example, let’s say you want to share this article that you’re reading right now, on Facebook. When you do that, who will be able to see it? That is not controlled by the privacy settings at the link above. To determine who on Facebook can see what you are sharing from outside of Facebook, see our article on how to change the privacy settings for things that you share to Facebook.

How to Find an Online Telemedicine Doctor or Healthcare Service

Going out of the house has never been more stressful, especially in terms of being an older adult and so more susceptible to the COVID-19 Coronavirus! In fact, this is what led us to write our article on protection fatigue, which is brought on by the stress of trying to keep yourself safe.

Fortunately, there are many good telemedicine services now, providing online doctors and other healthcare professionals, so that you don’t have to leave the house in order to get symptoms diagnosed or prescriptions filled. Here is a partial list of some credible telemedicine providers.

How to Do the U.S. Census Online

You can complete the U.S. census online at You will need the code from the census form that was mailed to you, although if you do not have it, you can also complete a request for a code at the same site.

How to File Your Income Taxes Online and Maybe for Free

There are, of course, many online tax preparation services. The four below are, however, recommended by the IRS (on the IRS website), and some of them offer free tax filing services if you meet certain criteria.

We hope that these tips have been helpful! Let us know if one in particular has been useful!

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6 thoughts on “How to Use the Internet for Senior Citizens: a Collection of the Internet Patrol’s Best Tips

  1. Good article, Anne. Could I just add, though, that I have been teaching people of all ages about computer usage (from beginner onwards) since around 2000.. I have found over the last 20 or so years that older people, once they have got over the very initial panic, are very swift to learn, are unafraid of asking for help etc. The main thing I have had to teach older folk is that… short of taking a hammer to the machine … it is pretty difficult to “break” the internet! After that is learned…… there is no stopping them!

    I can say this, being 63 myself.` Anyone can learn many things, if the determination and interest is there.

  2. Why wouldn’t you warn old folks that Zoom did or does (wants to) sell your private data to FaceBook (and others) — if you’re talk to folks about how to protect themselves from being spied on at FB?


      Of course they *want* to. Everybody wants to. Just like everyone wants a free lunch. That doesn’t mean that they do. And they explicitly say, in their privacy policy (link above) that they don’t.

      1. I had not seen that — top part — and only an iteration of the bottom part sounding much like FB — to whom I believe it was proven they WERE selling data.

        I hope you read it with your lawyers hat on — and saw ALL the elements for a full and complete legal representation — you know the condition — a unilateral contract — requiring no acceptance — a failing of which still gets you sued. Plus the holes one my wiggle through saying — I never promised that.

        You’re absolutely right — every one looks for a free lunch and there ain’t none — in ALL time frames all participants included.

        There would still seem to be lots of holes we’ve seen FB crawl through in the bottom section on all the data they still somehow for some reason need — making no money from it.

        Why not just use — Jitsi — an Open Source — non-secret / non-evil / non data collecting product that is similar. Not as glitzy, but maybe fully sufficient for MOST — especially if your interest is not just superficial socializing — but serious collaborating — as was Elon Musk’s concern. Is he now using Zoom?

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