Communities, games and risk: parental and adolescent perspectives of social media use in ASD

Carrie Ballantyne, Gillian Hendry, Karri Gillespie-Smith

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

Abstract

Background 
Autistic groups (who have good reading ability and less/moderate autism severity) have been found to spend greater amounts of time online compared to their typical counterparts (Kagohar et al., 2013) and rely more on online communication for social interactions and relationships (Heasman & Gillespie, 2018). Despite this however, the real-life social vulnerability often reported within this group may be extrapolated to these online platforms, increasing the risk of online bullying, peer pressure and exposure to images displaying violent and sexual content (Livingstone, Kirwil, Ponte, & Staksrud, 2014). The current study aimed to ask autistic adolescents and parents about the perceived barriers and risks to engaging online and how social media has impacted autistic adolescents’ relationships.

Method 
A qualitative methodology was used. A sample of 8 autistic adolescents and 6 parents who have autistic children participated in individual semi – structured interviews. 

Results 
Using a thematic analysis, several different themes emerged from the children and parents. Parents discussed the importance of education, socialisation and online safety, whereas autistic adolescents discussed the positive influence of social media and the risks involved. 

Conclusions 
This study shows the importance of understanding the lived experience of the individual and the difficulties and benefits of using social media as a communication tool for those with autism and the concerns of their parents. The study highlights the need for further support as well as increased risk awareness for both autistic adolescents and their families.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 16 Dec 2019
Event9th Annual Seattle Club Conference on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities - University College London, London, United Kingdom
Duration: 16 Dec 201917 Dec 2019
http://www.seattleclubconference.org/conference_2019.html

Conference

Conference9th Annual Seattle Club Conference on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
CityLondon
Period16/12/1917/12/19
Internet address

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