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It's never too late to jump on the Facebook bandwagon

October 20, 2014

Although Facebook doesnt allow users to select a birth year earlier than 1905, that didnt stop 114-year-old Anna Stoehr from opening an account on the popular site, CNN reported. Stoehr always made a point of staying on top of technological trends, despite having been born before her family ever had a TV or telephone. Her connectedness can be attributed to the natural curiosity that shes had her whole life. Its the same reason why shes become well-versed in smartphone features like FaceTime, email and Google search.

Using technology to stay youngWhether Stoehr knows it or not, shes been practicing healthy aging this whole time. A Wichita State University study showed that older adults who regularly use the Internet are healthier than those who dont. While the research revealed that 85 percent of participants wanted to use a computer, only 25 percent actually did. 

"Social media, the computer and the Internet allow people to interact more and acquire information that they need, which they might not have access to if they do not grasp the knowledge," said Rui Ni, assistant professor of psychology at WSU. 

Those who dont regularly use the Internet are at risk of feeling socially isolated, which can have negative effects on their mental and, in turn, physical health. Its important to educate people on the benefits of the limitless information and social connectedness that are available on the computer. With Facebook and other forms of social media, users can stay in touch with their loved ones, connect with new friends and stay cognitively engaged.

Getting started on FacebookIf you dont already have an account, consider calling on the help of a connected friend or family member to help you. Getting started is quick and easy, and only requires basic information like your full name, email address and date of birth to sign up. From there, you can add a profile picture, a bio, movie and music preferences, and more.

Once your profile is set up, youll want to connect with people you know. After all, thats what Facebook is all about! Tell your friends and family that youve made a profile so they can find and add you, or add them yourself. Being connected allows you to see their profiles and their updates will show up on your News Feed. You have the option of "liking" or commenting on them as you wish. You can also message your friends directly or post a comment directly on their profile page, which is referred to as their "wall." Just know that, unless they have specific privacy settings in effect, anything you post to their wall can be seen by all of their friends. If its more of a personal message, youre better off inboxing them directly.

Keeping safe onlineWhile there are many benefits of social media, there are also some risks to be cautious of. You should always be careful posting personal information online, and social media is no exception. Fortunately, if you follow the rules of online safety, you shouldnt have anything to worry about. Open the privacy settings tab of your Facebook account and try to limit how much information is displayed on your public profile, which is what people are allowed to see before they become your Facebook friend. You can also change the privacy settings to limit what information your friends see. For example, you can structure your privacy settings to show your close friends and family members all of your tagged photos and hide them from other connections. Play around with the settings and ask a technologically savvy friend for help if you want to make sure youre doing it correctly.