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Tuesday 21 Nov 2017

Keeping your child safe on the World Wide Web

Children of the world

Article by Stephanie Ekis, MS, CCC-SLP

Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, released in 2010, found that 73 percent of Americans ages 12 to 17 now use social-networking websites, up from 55 percent in 2006.  We live in a social world and it is essential that we teach children with autism how to participate safely in this world.  This article will highlight the potential benefits and risks of using social media and how to protect children with autism as they explore this type of technology.

What does SOCIAL NETWORKING mean?

  • Social networking is typically an online service, platform, or site that focuses on building social networks or social relations among people who share interests and/or activities (Wikipedia).
  • The process of building online communities, often accomplished both through ‘groups’ and ‘friends lists’ that allow greater interaction on websites (webtrends.about.com).
  • The interaction between groups of people who share a common interest (wikioinary.org).

Potential Benefits:

  • At school, social media can allow children to work collaboratively with classmates.
  • May motivate some children to improve their literacy skills.
  • Allows children to build relationships with others using alternative platforms.
  • Gives children access to learning materials related to topics of interest.
  • Increases engagement in learning activities.
  • Allows children to stay in touch with family and friends who live out of town.

Potential Risks:

  • Potential access to inappropriate content
  • Cyber-bullies
  • On-line predators

Through computers and social media, our children can have access to endless social, literacy and learning opportunities as well as a motivating outlet to express their true personality. With a little creativity, all children – regardless of their current abilities – can participate in social media activities.

Resources:

Ten Safe Social Networking Sites For Kids

http://www.npr.org/2011/07/11/137705552/ten-safe-social-networking-sites-for-kids

Teens With Autism Avoid Email, Social Media
http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2012/01/27/teens-autism-email/14869/

www.teachertube.com

The goal is to provide an online community for sharing instructional videos. Teacher Tube fills a need for a more educationally focused, safe venue for teachers, schools, and home learners.

www.Skype.com

Skype is a software application that allows users to make voice calls over the Internet. Calls to other users within the Skype service are free.  Use a webcam to add a face to the voice!

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