As a mom of two young adults, I never thought Internet safety would affect my family. We had always been cautious with what they played and viewed on their phones and electronics but I was so wrong!
In this day and age of high tech, most kids have a Nintendo™, PlayStation™, tablet, laptop computer, or smart phone. But do they know how to be cyber safe with them? I thought mine did.
I recently found videos on my 20-year-old son’s phone that were shocking—he swears he didn’t download them. My son is on the autism spectrum and does not fully understand what has been sent to his phone or how or when to delete it.
It is reported every year that thousands of children and young adults become victims of cyber abuse and do not realize it until it’s too late.
Cyber abuse can be anything from being bullied through Instagram, web chats, Facebook, Twitter, texting, or emails, to receiving pictures (regular and animated) that are graphic in nature or pornographic. Many times this can leave our kids open for unwanted contact from older people or not so nice friends.
So what can you do to protect your child or young adult? The following are several ideas on cyber safety:
Most of all, explain the reason something is inappropriate or unsafe for them and how to get away from it.
Children and young adults with disabilities many times are unaware of the underlying danger that can await them. It’s our jobs as parents to prepare them. To learn more about what to do if your child is bullied, go to Bullying Children with Disabilities.
Just when I thought maybe the “autism thing” was calming down. And that maybe I had a few months to catch my breath before researching everything I needed to know about guardianship before my son turns 18. Wham–another big change brought us back to reality.