Autism Online: Autism Spectrum Disorder and Internet Safety
Summer is fast approaching and finally, there is time to relax, sleep in, and play on the computer. I don’t believe it is a stretch to the imagination that many people, young and old, with a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder, find solace with social connection on the internet. Removing the need for social awareness that comes from getting together in person the internet allows people of all sorts to get together, talk, play games, and date. Technology is a wonderful thing, and can also be a dangerous place. Taking some precautions when using the internet as your social outlet can be crucial.
Each form of internet utilization has its own set of risks. Gaming is by far the most prevalent form that I hear about in session. Being able to chat during gameplay or using a Discord server gives a shared experience and allows people to bond. One risk that comes up is gameplay can also lead to cutthroat dialogue between players. “Trash Talking” is a part of the culture of many games. Being aware that people are going to say harsh things to you and that you may also feel tempted to do the same thing. That’s all good and fine unless you’re having a bad day or they say something that really offends you. Be aware of how you feel before going into these dialogues and if you’re feeling down, angry, or just out of it, maybe it is time to play single-player for a while.
Protect Your Personal Information
Also be aware that there are people on these platforms working towards getting personal information out of you in attempts to hack your account and steal your identity, money, and possibly personal information. In general, if anyone brings up needing money online, no matter what the reason, no matter how long you have talked to them, they are deceiving you. The common language looks like, needing money for medication, a sick grandmother, cryptocurrency investment, or getting kicked out of the house.
When it comes to dating, remember any time someone asks for nudes, once they are sent they are out there forever. There is a chance of someone being underage, someone looking to cause harm, and the possibility of grooming around sex trafficking. If that sounds scary, good it is supposed to be scary. The internet is a great place to meet people, just be careful with who you meet and what you share.
At Mind Works Counseling Services in Lubbock TX, we specialize in mental health counseling for adults and adolescents with Autism. We are here to help if you have any questions about relationships, in person or virtual. Please feel free to reach out.
Learn more about the Autism Counseling services we offer.
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