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Internet Safety Guide For Parents of Children with Autism

Updated: Jul 21, 2021

It's no wonder children are drawn to the Internet. There they can find a world of fun and exciting things to do. But, with accessibility comes the increased risk of children becoming victims of online predators. This is even truer for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

What Types of Issues Can Children Encounter When Using the Internet?

In the past few years, the Internet has become a hub for children and teens who become more and more exposed to "harmful" material online, including disturbing images, adult content, and the collection of personal information. Parents of children with Autism are especially concerned, so many turn to Autism Parenting Magazine, a great resource.

Children must have developed social and emotional building blocks before venturing online. These will help them withstand some of the downsides of online life. This is especially true for children with ASD. All parents, and especially those of children with ASD, should be aware of some of the more common problems associated with young children online.

Online Bullying

Unfortunately, some kids can be cruel; that is an unavoidable fact of life. Cyberbullying is a form of abuse that occurs online. Cyberbullying can take many forms, but some of the most common are sending abusive messages or text messages, posting offensive images, posting abusive blog posts or comments, or using any other means to bully others online. Sadly, your child may be more likely to become a victim of this problem due to their ASD.

Cyber Predators

Those who exploit young people sexually and otherwise through the Internet are known as cyber predators. The goal of cyber predators is to gain their victims' trust by making them believe that they are someone else or telling lies about themselves. One in five children is estimated to be sexually solicited online.

Public Posting of Private Information

This is something that many children do, but a child with ASD may be more prone to posting private information. That information then becomes public, can be seen by anyone and everyone, and the information never goes away. This could pose a huge security threat to the child and their family.


Phishing has quickly become the most popular type of cybercrime on the Internet. Cybercriminals are now adept at designing all kinds of phishing attacks, using the latest techniques, including spoofing, spamming, and even using fake websites that look real. It is a danger that many people fall for, not only those with ASD.

Falling Victim to Scams

While phishing is a type of scam, others are more obvious. One example is social scamming, whereby someone will contact you and pretend to be from a bank. They convince you to give over sensitive details that you otherwise wouldn't. Again, many people fall for this, not just those with ASD.


Malware often comes from installing programs that look real but can cause major havoc on your life. Even if the malware software installed is not targeting you, it could be using your computer for other criminal activities, typically without you knowing.

Posts That They Regret Later In Life

Most people have posted something they later regret. Just look at most celebrity news. However, without the proper guidance, a child with ASD could be more likely to post things on social media that they shouldn't, causing much regret in the future.

How Can You Minimize These Challenges?

Most common online threats can be reduced or eliminated, read on to learn how to safeguard your child with ASD.

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