Lead Scotland, a national charity supporting disabled people and carers, has launched a new online booklet which teaches people with learning disabilities about how to be safe online.
The booklet has been launched to coincide with Safe Internet Day (7 February 2023). This year’s theme is ‘Want to talk about it? Making space for conversations about life online’.
Being aware of the risks while online
Parent and carers play a crucial role in empowering and supporting people with learning disabilities to use digital technologies safely, and Safer Internet Day encourages parents and carers to participate in open dialogue with your child or the person you support about the benefits and risks of surfing the web.
The internet can be an extremely useful tool. It helps people to stay connected and educated, but it also presents various risks and dangers.
People with learning disabilities are particularly vulnerable to being exploited online, and are at greater risk of having their personal data stolen and experiencing cyber bullying.
Mencap has created its own internet safety training, called the SafeSurfing project, which is available to download online. And now, Lead Scotland, has created its own easy read resource for people with learning disabilities.
Learning how to use the internet safely
The online booklet is designed for people who already use the internet and want to be safer, and it teaches the user all about passwords, scams and cyber-attacks.
It advises the reader about how to create a strong password to prevent hackers from accessing your online accounts, and the importance of using different passwords for different sites.
Since remembering all your different passwords is tricky to do, it suggests allowing your personal computer to remember your passwords, as well as writing them down in a book that is hidden somewhere safe.
The toolkit also explains what scams are, what they may look like online and how to identify whether an email is from a fake company or not.
It advises users not to click on files, pictures or website links in suspicious emails, and suggests showing the email to a trusted person to help you identify whether it is legitimate or not.
Websites can sometimes impersonate another well-known company. It is therefore important to check the website link, and make sure it is correct and there is a padlock next to the URL (which indicates it is secure).
Similarly, if you receive an email from a company, you should check to see if the email address or website link is the same as the one you are suspicious of.
Finally, the booklet explains what a cyber attack is and what to do if you experience one. Most importantly, you should remember that a cyber attack is not your fault and seek help straight away, either from someone you trust or by calling the police on 101.