Staying In Touch With Friends & Family

Using Social Media To Keep In Touch

Social media is a fantastic way to stay in touch with family and friends, whilst keeping up-to-date with the latest news stories around the world – particularly those surrounding the COVID-19 virus. Plus, it’s easy to access, whether you’re using a desktop computer, laptop, smart phone or tablet.

We’re sure many of you reading this article will already be familiar with social media, but for those who want to get started, or have older friends or relatives who could use social media to help stem the loneliness of self-isolating or social-distancing, here is a quick guide to some useful social media platforms and tools.

Facebook– one of the most popular social media platforms. Facebook enables you to share photos, videos and messages with individual people or with all your Facebook “friends” at once. You can also create groups to send messages to multiple people in one space and take part in both voice and video calls

WhatsApp– you can install this for free on your smartphone. You can send one-to-one messages, including photos, or create group chats with your friends and family to stay in touch. You can also make voice and video calls

Skype – used mainly for video calls, Skype is a great way to see your loved ones remotely and can be used on your desktop computer, laptop, smartphone or tablet

FaceTime – if you and the person you want to speak to both have an Apple device like an iPhone or iPad you can easily video call using FaceTime


Setting up a social media account

If you have a friend or family member who knows a bit more about social media and technology – why not ask them to help you set up an account? That way you can ask them any questions you’re unsure about and perhaps get some advice from them before you start. If not, we’re here to help.

You will need:
• A desktop computer, laptop, smartphone or a tablet
• Access to the internet / WIFI
• An e-mail address
A friend or family member may have sorted your WIFI connection out for you already, so if you’re not sure if you have access to it, it’s best to check with them.

Creating a Facebook account if you’re using a computer:

1. Go to your internet browser (Chrome, Internet Explorer, Edge, FireFox, Safari).
2. In the search bar type in “Facebook” then press “enter” on your keyboard.
3. Click on the top link.
4. Once on the website, it may ask you to log in or sign up. As you are creating a new account you will need to make sure you “sign up” rather than log in.
5. Work your way through the boxes or prompts. They will likely ask for your name, e-mail address, date of birth and sometimes your gender. You will also need to create a password. Make sure it is secure and you keep it safe to help you remember it later.

You’re done! Next time you will just need to “log in” so note down your e-mail address and password and keep them safe


Using social media on your phone or tablet:

1. Go to the “app store” or “play store”.
2. Search for the social media app you are looking for.
3. Click install.
4. When it has installed you will see a new icon on your home screen with the rest of your apps.
5. Click on the app and go through the prompts. You will need to log in – or sign up if you haven’t yet set up an account.
Mobile devices are usually more at hand than a computer or laptop and, as you can use them in different areas of the home, they give you easier access to stay in touch with your friends and family.

Important tips to remember

Social media has so many benefits, but it is important to keep your personal information private. After you have created an account you might want to start sharing straight away. However, it’s vital you check your privacy settings to ensure you know who you are sharing your information with. Social media networks like Facebook allow you to write posts that can be seen by everyone – but you can easily change this, so your posts are only seen by people you choose.

You can change your privacy in the settings tab. It’s always important to check this before you begin to post any information. It is vital you don’t share personal information like passwords, bank numbers and other private information on social media.

Just like on your e-mails, sometimes you can receive spam messages or links. If someone contacts you and you don’t know who they are, or what they have sent, it is often best to ignore it. This is especially important if they have sent you a link that allows you to click on it. If you know the person, you can always send them a quick message to ask what they have sent to you and confirm the link is safe.

For more advice on staying safe online, here are a few useful links:

AgeUK - Great advice for our older generation with no technical jargon who may not have used online facilities before
Get Safe Online - Fantastic resource for everyone of all ages, business and personal use

However you choose to stay in touch with loved ones over the coming weeks, please remember to take good care of yourselves and follow UK Government advice, particularly if you, or someone you live with, is in the high-risk group for COVID-19.

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