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Autism and Internet Safety

In today’s world, our online presence is growing exponentially. Most of our day-to-day lives take place on a screen. The level of convenience is astounding, but with every good thing, there are things we need to be weary of.

Our ASD individuals are greatly influenced by what they read and see online, that’s where internet safety comes into play. Monitor what is available to your kids. Set boundaries, set allotted time to browse, and inform them of potential threats like cyber bullying and theft. The internet can become very time consuming to ASD individuals.

On most devices, parents can set controls to limit what their kids can see. It can block certain websites, block transactions, and set time limits. As your child starts to become more and more responsible, you can adjust these limits. Reward them with more freedom as they show they deserve it! As they develop, things that would have been inappropriate, become less and less worrisome (video games, YouTube videos like Five Nights at Freddy’s). Block websites that contain anything that could possibly influence your children in a negative way, like pornographic material, violent material, and persuasive material.

BE PROACTIVE

We need to keep our families educated on the dangers of the online world, and that starts with a conversation. You can start by explaining to them the different ways the internet can be harmful. Be proactive instead of reactive! Once your information is taken, it’s a hard and long process to shut it down. Familiarize your family with the dangers of false identities and untrustworthy websites. Never open links you aren’t familiar with. They can cause hidden viruses to enter and harm your computer. Don’t trust fishy websites and, never give out personal information to strangers! If you wouldn’t do it in real life, don’t do it on the internet!

CYBER BULLYING

The internet can be overwhelming to our children, especially when the presence of bullying exists. It’s sometimes hard for parents, or even teachers to realize that someone is being cyber bullied. It can go unnoticed, and untreated for a long time. Cyber bulling includes, but is not limited to: posting defamatory things, consistent degrading texts or emails, threats of physical violence, attempts to persuade someone to hurt themselves, etc.

One of the hardest things about cyber bullying (and the internet in general) is that almost everything is permanent. Just because that photo of you was deleted, doesn’t mean that it’s gone forever.

So please, be mindful of what is going on in your child’s life. Monitor their online activity until they are responsible enough to know right from wrong, set time limits, and educate them on the dangers of the online world. Together we can create safety and fun for our children!

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