How seniors can use the internet for everyday tasks

Jessica Odom
Jessica Odom
Apr 17, 2019

Let’s admit it, life can be easier using the internet. You may be looking to connect with family and friends across the country or maybe you want to pay bills from the privacy of your home. Well, we can help you do that with ease.

We’re sharing how you can set up the internet, what you can use it for and how you can stay protected in the process.

How to set up internet

When it comes to choosing the right internet provider, you have a variety of options. Identify your biggest needs for a provider whether that’s unlimited data or fast speeds. Setting up internet is as easy as picking a provider, selecting a plan, scheduling your installation and enjoying your network connection.

If you’re looking for a budget-friendly provider, compare internet providers’ pricing by how much they offer and if they fit your needs. You may also qualify to discounts based on your age, income or veteran status.

Home internet providers quick comparison chart

Provider Speed range 2018 ACSI rating (out of 100) Contract
AT&T5-1,000 Mbps 681-year
CenturyLink3-1,000 Mbps58None required
Cox10-1,000 Mbps591-year
Frontier1-500 Mbps54None required
HughesNet25 Mbpsn/a2-year
Optimum20-400 Mbps64None required
Spectrum60-1,000 Mbps60None required
SuddenLink3-1,000 Mbps611-year
Fios by Verizon100 – 940 Mbps70None required for select plans
Windstream1.5-1,000 Mbps56None required
Xfinity15-2,000 Mbps 60None required

Get free Wi-Fi

Did you know you can get free Wi-Fi in some places? It’s true you can use free Wi-Fi at coffee shops, but you can also use it at restaurants, stores, parks and on transportation services.

Depending on the internet service provider you choose, they may also provide free Wi-Fi hotspots across the country. It’s perfect when you’re traveling to see family during the holidays. Find all of your free Wi-Fi hotspots here.

What you can use the internet for:

Stay connected to friends and family

Social media apps like Facebook and Instagram are great ways to connect with family and friends. They may even help you reconnect old relationships.

But, while it’s a great way to stay connected, it’s also a place where imposters fool you into giving away your personal information. Follow these dos and don’ts for a safe and worthwhile social media experience.

Do's & don'ts of social media for seniors

How to pay bills online

Pay your internet, TV and streaming service bills online with ease. Many providers offer the option to enroll in autopay, so each month they take the bill amount from your bank account or by card so you don’t have to worry about deadlines. They even have apps to pay straight from your phone.

Here’s an example of how to pay bills online:

  1. Create a username and password on the specific service or provider’s website
  2. Use the menu options to view your account summary.
  3. Select “Pay now,” “Pay online” or some other variation to start the online payment process.
  4. Enter in your information including name, address, bank account or credit card.
  5. Verify that all of your information and monthly balance is correct then submit your payment.

Once you’ve made a payment online, you’ll see the charges reflected on your online bank statement within a few business days.

How to order groceries online

You can now shop online with a click of a button and have your groceries delivered to your home. Major grocery chains are providing memberships to shop for products online and have them delivered to your front door or pick them up at the store, so you don’t have to use hours of your time meandering through the store looking for the right products.

Here’s an example of how you order Harris Teeter groceries online:

  1. Create a username and password on their website. Your account will store past orders and make it easy to create new ones based on your food preferences.
  2. Use the site’s menu options or search function to find the items you want. You can easily add and take away cart items to create your perfect grocery list.
  3. Review your grocery cart and pay for your items. Select if you want them delivered to your home or if you want to pick them up at your nearest store.

Get discounted prescriptions and coupons online

If you’re looking to save on costly prescriptions, then the internet is your friend. There are many online sites that compare prescription prices to find the lowest price for you. Sites like GoodRx and WellRx offer coupons and discounted prices for your prescriptions.

  1. Visit one of the sites listed above or another prescription discount website.
  2. Use the menu options or search for your prescriptions.
  3. Find discounts and coupons.
  4. Email, print or text them to yourself to use at your pharmacy visit.

Be alert to internet schemes to protect yourself online

Remember to be alert when using the internet. There are many hackers out there ready to dupe you out of money or steal your identity.

How to prevent phishing

Phishing is when a fraud tries to steal your valuable information online either through a website, by text or in an email. They usually offer over-the-top gifts, need urgent information or ask for you to verify your account information with them. Avoid clicking on incredible offers for money or expensive gifts because it’s a scam. Follow this guide to avoid phishing scams.

Share sensitive information the right way

Always be conscious of sharing sensitive information online. It is the easiest way for a scammer to get your Social Security Number or credit card information to steal your identity and money. If you’re wary of providing information online, call a customer service number to verify its authenticity.

Using the internet doesn’t have to be scary, just be safe and have fun with it. If you want to learn more about the internet, check out these basic tips to become a savvy internet user in no time!