And with Bayan Telecommunications pioneering the "Teach Lola" campaign, more lolos and lolas have opened their minds to the fastest-growing technology in the modern age. "Teach Lola is an advocacy that’s geared towards encouraging the younger generation to take the first step to bridge the digital divide by teaching their grandparents how to get connected to the world through the World Wide Web — very much connected to our thrust of letting the Filipino voice be heard," says John Rojo, Bayan’s VP for Corporate and Communications. As it aims to educate, the advocacy has created manuals available on www.teachlola.com that aim to tutor our elderly on the basics of e-mailing and Facebooking.
Now, older Filipinos can send e-mail to their loved ones who are far away, upload and share videos on YouTube or even connect with them through social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. But Rojo believes that grandchildren should also teach their grandparents how to take precautions against possible risks within the Internet, as they can be seriously dangerous for the uninformed user.
That's why Bayan has included a few safety tips for grandparents and grandchildren who are in the middle of learning and teaching how to use the Internet.
- Do not open attachments (even if they’re from your grandkids!). The infamous Filipino-made 'I Love You' computer virus that caused some US$ 10 billion in losses in as many as 20 countries was sent as an e-mail attachment, which when opened could potentially damage or even crash your computer.
So if your grandkids are sharing pictures or videos with you, just tell them to upload these to Photobucket or YouTube and send you a link instead. Although if you absolutely have to, most e-mail services have built-in virus scanners, so make sure to scan your attachments first before downloading anything to your computer.
- Do not give out your personal information (even if you 'won' a million pesos).
You’ll receive a lot of e-mails saying that you’ve won millions, or an all-expense-paid trip to Bermuda or even a brand-new car (which they’ll deliver right to your doorstep) if you just provide them with a few simple bits of personal information.
Don't even think about it! Junk that e-mail immediately. 'Phishing' is the most common cybercrime committed, wherein criminals attempt to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords and credit card information. Just remember: if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.
- Do not add everyone to your network (even if you're friendly).
If you’re a member of a social networking site (SNS) like Facebook, having a gazillion friends may sound great but that also means that you’re more prone to having online stalkers.
It may make you feel like a celebrity having someone follow you around the worldwide web all the time; however, this also means that these predators can gain access to the accounts of your grandkids through you. Worst case scenario is that one of your grandchildren will add these stalkers as well, thinking they can be trusted because of your online connection.
So next time someone adds you, make sure to check their profiles first. See their list of friends and see if you have mutual friends. Then double-check with those friends to see if this is a legitimate account. It might be a little bit tedious but it's the safety of your grandkids that’s at stake.