The internet provides the amazing ability to communicate with loved ones around the world and find answers to just about any question, which is why it's no surprise that so many people use it — including nearly 60 percent of people 65 years and older.
Regardless of how often you use technology or how internet-savvy you are, there are always new things to learn and programs to discover. Here are five easy tech tips that will help you improve your online experience.
The best way to familiarize yourself with social media platforms and master their many features is to test them out. When a platform releases a new update, play around and experiment with it. One example is the August 2016 launch of Instagram Stories, which allows you to post photos and video slide shows that disappear after 24 hours.
These updates and new platforms offer a fun way to communicate with faraway friends and family members. Baddie Winkle, arguably the most popular octogenarian Instagram star, started using social media to heal from the deaths of her husband and son. She calls her time spent using social media "such a great motivator," as it helps her stay active and connected with her loved ones and fans.
When signing up for internet service, it's not always easy to know how much speed you will need. You may end up paying for more than you require, or experience lags and delays in service.
If you're using the internet for basic searches and email, 5–10 Mbps may be enough speed. However, if you also enjoy streaming videos, downloading files or using Skype to video chat, you may need closer to 25 Mbps.
Daryl Deprey, ATT Savings technology analyst, says, "If you're paying for a decent speed and you're still experiencing delays or unreliable service, it may be because of the type of internet you're using. If you currently have cable, you may consider fiber-optic internet, which can transmit data more effectively."
Reduce your chances of becoming an identity fraud victim and feel safer online by implementing security measures on your computer. Make sure your computer has an antivirus software program installed. Update it regularly or use a program that automatically updates itself, such as Panda Security or Avast.
Implementing two-step verification is another way to boost the security of your personal and financial information online. Two-step verification requires you to log in with your password and then log in again using a unique code that is texted to your mobile phone.
Mario Aguilar from Gizmodo says, "Two-step authentication is one of the best ways to prevent unauthorized access to your accounts, even if somebody manages to steal your password."
The internet can be an essential assistant when traveling, from booking restaurant reservations to looking up a car service. But if you're using public Wi-Fi — networks you can connect to at an airport, local coffee shop or other public location — your data may be at risk. Even if the network has a password, it is still susceptible to hackers.
Ensure your browsing traffic is encrypted and protected by using a virtual private network (VPN) service. Amadou Diallo of Forbes says, "Someone snooping on traffic over the Wi-Fi network will just see garbled data passing between your computer or device and this secondary VPN server." Private Internet Access and TunnelBear are two highly rated and inexpensive VPN services.
Unique passwords are a frustrating yet vital necessity when using the internet. Security and tech experts recommend using a different password for every online account. Each password should also contain at least 12 characters and a combination of letters, numbers and symbols.
If you're having trouble remembering your passwords, don't write them down or store them in a document. For security purposes, use a password manager to help organize, store and protect your usernames and passwords. Katie Petrillo of LastPass says, "Online password managers like LastPass provide a secure, easy-to-use place to store, access and manage all of your passwords."
LastPass is one of the most popular secure password managers, signing in to your online accounts for you and storing your passwords for when you need them. Best of all, it's free to use and easy to download as a web browser add-on.
By staying informed of the latest technology advances and online trends, you can continually improve your internet skills and enjoy everything the cyber world has to offer. What other tech advice would you recommend? Share your top tips in a comment.