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“You want to know that you’re safe”: Experiences of risk, restriction and resilience online among people with an intellectual disability

Chadwick, D (2022) “You want to know that you’re safe”: Experiences of risk, restriction and resilience online among people with an intellectual disability. Cyberpsychology: Journal of Psychosocial Research on Cyberspace, 16 (3). ISSN 1802-7962

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Open Access URL: https://doi.org/10.5817/CP2022-3-8 (Published version)


People with intellectual and developmental disabilities remain more digital excluded than many other groups within society. Perceived vulnerability of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities by those providing support may increase their digital exclusion and the digital divide. Few studies have considered online risk from the perspective of adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Online risks have previously been classified as contact, conduct and content but little is known about how adults with intellectual disabilities experience these specific risks. Underpinned by post-postivist and phenomenological epistemologies, perceptions and meanings of online risks for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities were gathered. Individual interviews were conducted with thirteen adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities who all identified themselves as self advocates. Interview discussions considered online risk experiences of being online and using social media. Data were audio recorded, transcribed verbatim and analysed using thematic analysis. Overarching themes of risk experiences, awareness and support to manage salient risks, and developing independence and resilience through online participation were identified. Accounts also identified concerns around online risks and carer gatekeeping as potential instrumental factors in digital exclusion, such exclusion was considered detrimental to wellbeing. Adults with intellectual disabilities with low support needs appeared more able to manage online risk than may be presupposed by a vulnerability-focused perspective. The importance of utilising language salient to the person when discussing risk was also highlighted. Experiential learning to better understand and manage salient online risks appears a way forward for both research and practice.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2022 The Author. Published by Masaryk University. This is an open access article available under a Creative Commons licence. The published version can be accessed at the following link on the publisher’s website: https://doi.org/10.5817/CP2022-3-8
Uncontrolled Keywords: autism; cybercrime; digital inclusion; intellectual disability; online risk; online victimisation; qualitative; resilience
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD61 Risk Management
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology > HV697 Protection, assistance and relief > HV1551 People with disabilities
Divisions: Psychology (from Sep 2019)
Publisher: Masaryk University Press
SWORD Depositor: A Symplectic
Date Deposited: 24 Jan 2023 11:26
Last Modified: 24 Jan 2023 11:30
DOI or ID number: 10.5817/cp2022-3-8
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/18721
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