By Janelle Rodriguez, OTD Graduate Student
Social Media and Internet Safety
Technology is constantly evolving and staying in touch with friends and family through social media has never been more prevalent. There is limited research on Internet and social media safety programs for adolescents with intellectual and developmental disabilities. It is important to educate this population on how to stay safe on the internet and use social media appropriately to reduce the risk of online harassment and increase safe online social participation.
How Can I Help my Child Stay Safe Online?:
Talk about it. Don’t wait for a problem to occur and then address it. Stay ahead of the game and start talking to your child about the many dangers and benefits of the internet. If your child is aware of the risks and benefits, it can potentially decrease the risk of cyberbullying and other forms of online harassment. Furthermore, when given a supportive learning environment, your child may be more likely to talk to you about any problems they encounter or any issues they have resolved.
What Are Topics I Should Talk About?:
- Digital Footprint
- Cyberbullying and online harassment
- Appropriate and inappropriate content
Establish any expectations or rules you would like to set for them to have the privilege of using social media and the internet.
5 Tips for Your Child to Remember When Using Social Media and the Internet:
- Never give out private information
- Block and report content that makes you uncomfortable
- Ask before video chatting
- Pause before you post
- Turn on privacy settings
What to be Aware of:
Instagram, Facebook, Discord, Snapchat, and TikTok all allow the option to set up parental controls or contain safety features within their app that can be set up to restrict certain content. Twitter is currently testing out a “safety mode” feature that has not been released in all regions. However, Twitter contains some in-app features to increase the safety of its users.
Most social media platforms require users to be at least 13 years old to create an account.
Click the link to learn about an App called Kidslox that you can purchase on an IOS or Android device to monitor, track, filter, set time limits, and more on your child’s device: https://kidslox.com/
Click the link below for access to an online game that can help with educating your child on the internet and social media safety: https://sos.fbi.gov/en/