Internet Safety for Individuals with IDD

As our world becomes increasingly digital, so does the way we communicate, both professionally and personally. With the internet being an integral part of communication for many, it is important to ensure that individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) are equipped with the necessary skills to navigate this ever-changing landscape safely. This blog provides strategies for teaching the IDD population social media use, tips that range from ensuring social media accounts are private to blocking and reporting predators/cyberbullying, and resources that can be accessed for instructing social media safety skills to these young adults.

Safe internet use starts with providing a strong foundation in digital literacy. Family members, caregivers and advocates should focus on introducing the basics of cyber security like password protection, understanding how to create a secure profile, as well as how to recognize fake news and identify malicious links/viruses. It is also beneficial to teach these individuals how to identify online predators or cyberbullying and inform them of their right to block or report users who may be harassing them online.

The next step is knowing what information needs to stay private on any platform they decide to use. This includes personal details like home address and phone numbers. This can also include any photos or videos they post including those taken by friends or relatives. Any content posted publicly should not contain anything that could put the user at risk either physically or emotionally. Additionally it’s important for educators to discuss boundaries when it comes to posting about themselves or others; this means teaching appropriate ways of interacting online such as not engaging in name calling or other disrespectful behavior.

Finally, it is important for caregivers and parents alike to ensure that the individual has a clear understanding of their rights when using social media platforms and know who they can turn to if they ever feel uncomfortable online. Educators should provide resources such as website links where students can access support if needed, such as relevant hotlines or helplines available in their community or state.

Individuals with IDD can face unique challenges when navigating through today’s digital world; however there are many tools available that can help them stay safe while utilizing various forms of technology. The key is providing information that empowers these individuals so they feel confident enough in their abilities to make informed decisions regarding their safety every time they log on regardless of which platform they choose! By following these strategies outlined above we can ensure all adults have all the information necessary for successful and safe navigation of the digital space!

You can also use the resources below for more information about Internet Safety:

Social Media Safety for Individuals with IDD

Internet Safety Tips for Individuals with ASD Internet Safety Tips

Online Safety Guide

Autism Society of NC Internet Safety Tips

Autism Society of NC Internet Safety Tips 2

New Jersey Self Advocacy Project – Internet Safety for Students and Adults with IDD

How to handle Texts from People I Don’t Know