The Internet offers opportunities for learning for kids with disabilities. And social media lets kids communicate with friends and family.
They also come with risks. Our kids may be vulnerable. They may be socially naive due to immature social skills. Children with disabilities are more susceptible to cyberbullying.
Here are a few rules to keep your children safe.
For Internet Safety:
- Set some ground rules. Control how and when they can use the Internet.
- Talk to your child about the kind of things OK to view online. A basic rule could be: If I won’t let you watch it on TV, it’s not OK online.
- Tell them to let you or another trusted adult know if they see something that upsets them.
- Explain that it's not OK to talk to people they don't know online. Use a nickname or avatar.
For Social Media Safety:
- Look at your child's account. Review the personal info. Is there anything that would identify them? A social security number, cell number, address and even a birthdate can be used against them.
- Check privacy settings. Ensure that only carefully screened people can see the account. Use the most secure level. Depending on their social skills, your child may need your permission to use friend requests.
- Help your child change their password every 6 months. Tell them to NEVER share their password, even with friends.
- Discourage them from posting anything about your family being away from home. Even a trip to the movies will let others know that your home is empty. Explain that it is always better to wait until they get home to post.
- Set parental controls on their devices. Monitor their accounts. Need to know how to do this? Watch “Social Media & Bullying: Using Technology to Keep Kids Safe” from Pacer's National Bullying Prevention Center. The Pacer website also has lots of good resources for parents about online safety.
Here's another great blog article about Cyber Safety.