10 Things Baby Boomers Will Never Want To Do Online

Online Rules For Boomers

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Stay safe and put your best foot forward online every time. Here are ten things NOT to do for safety, security, searching, and communicating on the web.

1. Don't Use the Address Bar the Old-Fashioned Way

Gone are the days of typing an entire website address into the address bar. Don't bother typing "http(s)" or "www" again. Using the address bar only for the web address has gone the way of the dinosaurs too. It's way more than an address bar. Look up instructions for the browser you use to get the most from the built-in features. Here are a few examples of address bar magic.

Use your address bar to:

  • Search the web.
  • Search your bookmarks, open tabs, and search history.
  • Use it as a calculator.
  • Use it to convert measurements or temperatures.

2. Don't Say Happy Birthday on LinkedIn

When you get birthday alerts on LinkedIn, think twice before sending a message. Everyone is getting older, but not everyone wants it broadcasted.

Alternative ideas:

  1. Endorse one of their skills.
  2. Send a birthday message through a private channel.

3. Don't Use Poor Password Protection

In a LastPass survey [1], eighty-five percent of boomers said they put a lot of thought into their passwords. But only thirty-two percent said they use more than ten distinct passwords for all online accounts. To protect your information, use a different password for each account. If you don't, and one of your accounts gets hacked, your other accounts are at risk. Get a password manager to create, store, and protect unique passwords for every account. It's easy and convenient.

The same survey found that 35% of boomers didn’t understand how two-factor authentication works. It's the second layer of security and one of the best things for protecting your data. Two-factor authentication will ask you for more than your username and password. It requires another piece of information, like a fingerprint or code. There are smartphone apps and software programs for this. It doesn't take long to set up. Use two-factor authentication wherever you can.

4. Don't Get Medical Information from Just Any Site

For important health and medical information, search the websites of top hospitals and trusted organizations. A health and medical website that everyone should have bookmarked is MedlinePlus, the U.S. National Library of Medicine's health and wellness website for the public.

5. Don't Ignore Privacy Settings

Privacy settings can and do change when companies roll out updates. Facebook is a prime example of this and a popular social media platform for boomers. You use it to keep up with family, friends, and news. Make sure to keep up with your privacy settings too. Even if you adjusted your privacy settings at one time, don't assume you're done. Know where to find the privacy settings for Facebook and all your accounts. Check them often.

6. Don't Use All Caps All the Time

Writing an email or text in all capital letters is like shouting at someone. It's bad netiquette. Try capitalizing a word or a phrase instead to emphasize something or get someone's attention.

7. Don't Fall for an Online Dating Scammer

Boomers are dating online more all the time. Reputable dating sites are a good way to meet someone special. There are dating sites exclusively for older adults. But there are also dating scammers, and even the best dating services can't keep them all out.

Here are four warning signs that point to a dating scam artist.

  • They want to communicate outside the dating site.
  • They profess instant feelings of love.
  • They'll make plans to visit you, but then something tragic happens.
  • They have all kinds of excuses for needing your money.

8. Don't Be a Victim of Cybersecurity Crime

In a national survey [2], boomers were more likely (54 percent) than others to believe they have never been victims of a cybersecurity crime. The truth is that millions of people become a victim of cybercrime every year. Phishing is one of the greatest threats to your online security. Email is not the only type of phishing attack.

Keep yourself off the phishing hook and avoid other cybercrimes by:

  • Staying up on the latest tactics
  • Using security software,
  • Keeping your software updated
  • Following best practices for creating passwords and password protection

9. Don't Buy Something Without Getting a Deal

Getting deals and comparison shopping online is quick and easy with apps and browser extensions. CamelCamelCamel, PriceBlink, Swagbucks, and Honey are a few of the free money-saving tools to consider. Every online shopper needs some tech help to save their dollars.

Honey is a browser extension and app that does pretty much everything you need to save money when you shop. It finds discounts and applies them at checkout. Use it to view an item's price history, set up notifications for price drops, and even earn rewards.

Honey is part of PayPal, the popular online payment processing company. Honey promises not to track your activities outside of retail websites. It’ll collect technical information about your device and track your shopping activities. They want to be sure Honey is working right and give you personalized product recommendations. If you're okay with that, get Honey and start saving some cash.

Honey is 100% free. Honey works in Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Edge, and Opera.

Ready to start saving money? Go to Honey and try it for yourself.

Other tips for saving money online:

  • Use automatic delivery programs.
  • Do a reverse image search to find the product elsewhere to compare prices.
  • Sign up for programs that let you earn cash toward future purchases.
  • Don't forget to check for discounts through your membership in a program or association (e.g., AARP, ASA, AMAC).
  • Take advantage of free shipping deals.
  • Keep a wish list and plan to buy during holidays, Cyber Monday, and Amazon Prime Day.
  • Check eBay and Amazon before you buy somewhere else. Some companies will offer the same thing on these sites but at a lower price and/or a better offer on shipping.
  • Shop at reputable online discount stores.

10. Don't Use Emojis Wrong

Emojis are fun, colorful additions to text messages, emails, and social media posts. When someone can't hear or see us, emojis are a way to inject, emphasize, or clarify the message's emotion.

Four general rules for using emojis:

  1. Use one emoji per message. It's fine to add a few more for a celebration.
  2. Don't use emojis to replace words.
  3. Unless it's somebody you're close to, only use emojis that evoke positive feelings.
  4. Before using an emoji that is unfamiliar, look up the meaning at Emojipedia.org. There are emojis and emoji combinations you won't want to use. We'll leave it at that.

 Ready to start saving money? Go to Honey and try it for yourself.


1. https://blog.lastpass.com/2017/07/a-look-into-online-security-through-the-ages.html/

2. https://blumbergcapital.com/stateofcybersecurity/