EDET 793 Anti-Cyberbullying: An Accessible Guide
Hello and welcome to Parent Corner, my name is Shelby Simmons and I will be your host for this session on preventing Cyberbullying. For those of you with children who have ADHD, are diagnosed with being on the Autism Spectrum, or are very young, the idea of allowing your children online for school or to communicate with friends may be intimidating.
In this session you will learn some of the features of the most common operating systems and internet browsers that may help you keep your child safe and enable them to get the most out of their online experience. You will also have an opportunity to create a plan for evaluating websites, online activities, and online communication that will ensure your children have safe and positive online experiences.
Going online with Special Needs
Narration for Screen Capture:
If your child uses standard tools like the computer keyboard and mouse effectively, then assistive hardware devices like a joystick or specialty keyboard are not necessary. When using a desktop or laptop computer featuring the Microsoft Windows operating system there are several simple changes that your operating system or browser software can make to help your child get the most out of the Internet.
First, you can have Microsoft Windows customize accessibility features. Here are some of the options for customization and a brief walk through of the accessibility wizard. Review this feature prior to your child using the computer and select the best settings, if any are necessary. For children of any age with ADHD removing additional images may reduce distractions.
Second, the operating system will allow you to create user accounts and limit the amount of time your child spends on the computer and what programs they can access.
Next, let’s head to an internet browser!
A browser is a program like Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, or Google Chrome that gives you access to the Internet. Most browsers have an address or search bar, and give you the opportunity to customize your experience: the things you will see, hear, and be able to do on the websites you visit.
In one of the most common browsers, Internet Explorer, you can adjust security settings and your start page by clicking the Tools icon to access the tools menu and clicking “Internet Options”.
Using the internet options, you can set a desired home page, a search engine, homework help site, or school’s homepage. You can also make your browser more secure by changing the permissions of what can be seen, the ability of sites to store cookies to track what your child does, and increase or decrease the history so you can see where your child is going online.
Once you have everything set up, now you have to figure out where to send your child online! This is a lot like selecting a place to play or eat, you want some place clean and wholesome that provides what you and your children need.
If your child has special needs, you will also need to be careful to see if the literal translation of the content or the “quick scan” version of the website will give your child the right impression. Is the quality of the research and content appropriate? Is the language used appropriate and at a level your child can understand?Preview the links from the site, avoid excessive advertising or pop-ups, and make sure you are present the first several times your child accesses the site. Once your child is comfortable, remain nearby to monitor his progress, answer questions, and resolve issues.
If you are letting your child access a social networking site or app, like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or others, you should be actively involved in the set up, know the password, review the privacy settings, and make sure you have set and maintain rules for access. Most sites do not allow children under the age of 13, children with special needs may function at an emotional level much younger than their actual chronological age, so make sure they are ready for the speed and nature of social networking.
Commonsensemedia.org and our internet safety website ccis.ccsdtitle1.org have more information on this new digital lifestyle.
The following websites have additional information on evaluating websites, links are available below.
Protecting vulnerable individuals
There are additional considerations when working with children who are very young, who are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, or have ADHD.
Children in each of these groups may have difficulty focusing on written content, interpreting other’s emotions and intentions, or expressing themselves. Additionally, negative responses, in writing or verbally, will have a more profound effect on a child with such challenges. The tendency of some children to bully those who are perceived as “different” only increases with the anonymity afforded by the internet, so monitoring online activity is a MUST.
Moreover, you will need to talk directly to your child and establish a procedure for them to express discomfort, if needed. You may also need to find content that is appropriate for their needs at a functional level/reading level associated with younger children.
For more information, please contact the Title I Office or the district’s Department of Special Services.
For a quick review of what you have learned, take the quiz on our website.