My relative, who is in his mid 20s, has high functioning Autism. He lives in residential living and is well used to being on the internet and searching for things.
My parents and I are concerned about exposure to online threats such as scammers, cyber bullies, violent or upsetting videos (or ones that otherwise give him bad ideas); but also self-inflicted ones like buying a motorbike he can’t afford, or posting something on social media that could cause him or other people problems.
It would be great to think of him using things like social media to chat with other people in a similar situation about his passions, catch up with old friends, perhaps even meet someone, but without the risks (or at least reduced risks).
To parents, what challenges do you have keeping your child safe from online threats? What keeps you up at night?
Urgh...we are glad SD16 does Tumblr but not Facebook.
We just keep talking about personal safety.
If she was living with us full time I would be suggesting she does more computer time in the family room so we can share discussions more real time
hi quirkyfriend, thanks for your reply!
what makes tumblr better than face book? is it safer in some way?
what sort of personal safety things?
what have you tried? was there something that worked particularly well or something that didn't?
Tumblr seems to have a less mean population! It also has less personal focus, and more scope to post about interests like her animation and fantasy writing. No one thinks it strange she doesn't post photos of herself or use a real name.
We talk about things like "sharing information with other people" and "if you wanted to meet with someone you knew from Tumblr, how could you keep safe."
She knows she can ask us to come with her if she was meeting someone and that the cafe near the library in town is a good place to do such meetings in our town. We would sit in another booth and wait until she text us or until the first meeting was over (the first meeting rule is 30minutes a for a milkshake). So far she's not done a meet while visiting with us and we have a to accept her mother doesn't give the same support, hence the rules about time and location. She sees the sense you don't share details that could let someone work out who you were and where you were. We just have to trust her and reinforce this regularly.
One of the earliest difficult talks I had with the elder girl was about a selfie in her bra sent to a boyfriend who subsequently dumped her. This was before her ADHD diagnosis, and we hadn't figured out what was driving the poor decision making.
It got her to think about what would happen if she got famous and he wanted to sell the image. The elder one uses FB and increasingly we can talk openly with her about her internet profile and how it might be seen by others.
Most tricky in any conversation is getting the balance between autonomy i.e.their right to choose and participate in these things over inducing fear of possible risks. I've found being matter of fact and looking into strategies to make things safer work better than rules and edicts that could stop them communicating with us about their online lives.