There are certain things everyone should know how to do if they plan to use a computer, especially a computer that is connected to the internet, and also a computer that they use to connect to other people, via email for example.
If you want to drive a car, whether you are 16, or 60, you need to know and abide by the rules of the road. You need to know how to operate your vehicle, and you need to know basic safety rules, for your own safety and the safety of those sharing the road.
You should also be aware that your car requires maintenance. You need to ensure it gets regular oil, fuel and safety checks, and be prepared for repairs if needed.
In the same way, if you plan to use a computer you should know it also needs maintenance, and that if you allow your system to be compromised it can affect others that you connect with.
So what should every computer user know how to do?
Here are just a few of the obvious:
· Learn how to surf the web safely, and be alert to scams and threats and don’t fall for them.
· Backup your own personal files in case of damage.
· Learn how to use email properly so as not to compromise the safety of your contacts.
· Have a reasonable knowledge of how your computer should look and operate, so you can be alert to changes that may signal problems.
If you think you have an issue and it’s not something you feel confident to take care of, alert a competent friend or computer tech quickly. Problems left unattended for a long time usually get much worse.
It doesn’t hurt to have a tech do regular checks on your PC every couple of months, but unless you want to spend a fortune in tech fees, there are some things you will want to learn.
So have someone teach you how to back up your files. Practice by doing this regularly so you don’t forget.
Take the time to learn how to identify scams and threats. If you are unsure simply never follow a link in an email that asks for ANY personal info.
Never allow anyone you don’t personally know and trust to access your computer, in person or remotely.
Learn how to run scans to check for malware.
Prevention is WAY better than a cure (and cheaper too!)
Take the time to learn how your email works, and make sure you understand what email etiquette is and how important it can be.
Try not to fall into the habit of saying “I can’t do this” or “I’m too old to learn” If you said you couldn’t drive, or were too old to operate your car, but got behind the wheel anyway – you would soon lose your license, not just for your own sake but for others too.
No one expects you to learn all there is to know about computers, but enough to keep yourself and others protected.
And don’t worry if it takes a while to learn the basics. Be patient, but PRACTICE – that’s what helps form good habits.
In the long run it will also make your computer less scary and build your own confidence in using it.
Lastly, change is inevitable. Operating Systems (like Windows) develop and change; websites we rely on change; email programs are updated. It can be tough to keep up with the changes at times, but bear with it – and ask for help if you are feeling at a loss. Don’t try to dig your heels in and hold onto the past though. It doesn’t work. No one is driving Model T’s any more either!
Learn what you can, Practice the basics- and try to enjoy the ride!