I am working with my colleague Laura to teach a large amount of people with a learning disability in the UK how to use the Internet safely, whether it’s shopping, dating or social media.
This is important because a lot of people with a learning disability are vulnerable to abuse (like everyone else!) and it’s so important to be able to use the internet independently, whether you are 15 or 115.
I taught Safe Surfing Module 1 recently. I was teaching the Mencap young ambassadors about things like cyber bullying and sexting. It was a great session and made me feel confident to teach about the dangers of the internet.
I have been told that I was good at co-training, which helped my confidence to teach with Laura. Laura was very helpful in encouraging me to continue and I checked things out with her to make sure I got my facts right.
I found teaching about the internet really good because I have used the internet a lot. It has not always been good for me. I was reminded of times when I haven’t been careful. For example when I joined a group of my old school friends on Facebook to discuss school and catch up. I met a few people from my year, which was great at first but then I did a few posts about my favourite teachers and liked my own posts. Liking my posts wasn’t really a big thing but some girls pulled me up about it. I said sorry and didn’t write as many posts. Then I was thrown out of the group, which upset me as I felt what I did wasn’t that bad.
The leader of the group wrote a kind message and I apologised to her but she said she couldn’t let me back on as people didn’t like me in the group. I then got a snide joke on my home page about how I liked my posts, I was so embarrassed. I decided to have no contact with any of them and the school in general again and I finally removed them from my friend’s list, which was a good idea.
Nowadays I enjoy using social media to tweet celebrities and keep in touch with family and friends on Facebook.
Teaching these modules has taught me and the young ambassadors how to use the internet safely. We all really enjoyed the session.
All in all it’s been an exciting experience for bringing people with a learning disability and the internet together!