Easy to understand Online safety social story

Keeping your children safe online, is something all parents have to think about these days. We were given a easy to understand online safety social story by Jack’s School. I believe in giving Jack as much freedom as we possibly can. About a year ago we ran into some problems online, with Jack using TikTok.

If you are not aware of TikTok, it is a social video sharing app. Jack discovered it and became obsessed with making videos. He does all sorts of stuff with the videos, adding music, filters and stuff beyond what I know how to do. I personally think it is a great creative outlet for him, and encourage him to work on his videos. Here is an an example of the type of things he does.


Message problems


The problems came with it being a social media app, meaning you could message people. Something Jack wanted to do. You can turn messages off, which is what we did, but it didn’t take Jack long to figure out how to turn them back on.

The problem with Jack messaging people is his lack of understanding of how the real world works. If someone tells Jack they are his friend, he will believe that without question. That obviously has massive safety implications. Jack also can’t separate reality from fantasy. He would think something he watched in a movie was real life.

We have made some slow progress trying to explain these things to him. He has acknowledged these things when talking to him, but it’s difficult to know if he’s saying things just to shut Mum and Dad up. Jack has learned how to say things, to be able to get what he wants. We had problems explaining this to school at first, but they’ve seen it now. Jack is very clever at getting what he wants.

a different type of video

Jack’s trouble with social interaction

The other problem that Jack has in all walks of life. Is people see this 6 foot tall, well built person and think he is a lot older than he is. Add the fact his understanding levels are less than his age. This leaves a massive gap between what people expect of him and what he can actually do. Although his autistic traits are becoming more profound with age. It is not always obvious to people that Jack is “different”, until he speaks. With new people or someone you bump into out and about. Jack’s anxiety means he can get flustered and mix up his words.

When he talks to people, the conversation can be very one way, unless you know him well. Then you might be able to get a two-way conversation out of him, but only if Jack is willing. So when we found he had been messaging people, what we found was Jack bombarding people with talk about a subject. Often annoying the other person, as he wouldn’t stop.

Easy to understand online safety social story

We talked with school about the issue, and they worked on it at school and provided us with a social story. We now make our own using Twinkl, which is a website I highly recommend. I wanted Jack to still be able to make his videos. It is a great creative outlet for him, and something he really enjoys. But we had to make sure it was in a safe environment, so we went through the social story with him.

Online safety social
Story part 1
Online social story part 2

We took the step of deleting TikTok from Jacks phone, and made it so he couldn’t sign back into it. Unsurprisingly Jack wasn’t happy about this, but we came up with a solution that Jack has accepted. I have the TikTok app on my phone, and he is allowed to use it as long as we see what he’s made before he posts it. To be honest I enjoy watching the videos anyway. Also the messages have to stay turned off.

He asks to have it back on his own phone every now and then, but that’s not happening yet. It does mean I have to give up my phone when he wants to make videos, but I can live with that.

Conclusion

I know what you let your children do online and with technology is a divisive subject. It is an area where Jack thrives and even excels, in a world where he struggles with so many things. For that reason I encourage him in the area as much as possible, but of course always wanting to keep him as safe as possible. That was one of the reasons why this blog was started, to give him a platform where we can do stuff together. Something he is really excited about, and why we have the Jack’s documents section on the website. It’s important to have fun and be creative, but you always have to stay safe at the same time.

Dad Does Autism

My name is Adam. I live with my partner Natalie, and our 2 children Jack and Lily. Both children are autistic, it is now my mission to show what life around autism is like. Spread the awareness and gain the acceptance that autistic people deserve.

20 thoughts on “Easy to understand Online safety social story

  • May 6, 2020 at 1:16 pm
    Permalink

    It sounds like you’ve got a great handle on all of this – taking the best from it while also making sure Jack remains safe from the unsavory online.

    Reply
    • May 6, 2020 at 2:33 pm
      Permalink

      Thank you, that is certainly the aim, and I think we’ve just about got it right.

      Reply
  • May 6, 2020 at 2:11 pm
    Permalink

    Is Jack’s inability to tell the difference between reality and fantasy (like a TV show) a common autism problem?

    Reply
    • May 6, 2020 at 2:23 pm
      Permalink

      It’s great how you are giving Jack the opportunities to make his videos, and keeping his as safe as possible.

      Reply
      • May 6, 2020 at 2:39 pm
        Permalink

        Thank you, that is certainly the aim and what I hope we are doing.

        Reply
    • May 6, 2020 at 2:39 pm
      Permalink

      As with anything autism, it’s all very varied and to different levels. Living in a fantasy world is something I’ve seen brought up quite a bit. It is something I do myself, but some people, like me know it’s only fantasy.

      It seems some, like Jack can’t tell the difference. It’s difficult to say how common it is, but it’s not something unique to Jack, but he seems to be a more extreme case than most. From what I’ve read and been told.

      Reply
  • May 6, 2020 at 4:30 pm
    Permalink

    I dread the days of my kids joining the social media world. You can never be too careful. But it sounds like you’re taking good steps to keep them safe. Way to go!

    Reply
    • May 7, 2020 at 9:26 am
      Permalink

      Thank you, it is indeed stressful, especially if your a person who doesn’t want to completely shelter your children from the world. You need to give them a bit of freedom, judging how much isn’t easy.

      Reply
  • May 6, 2020 at 8:01 pm
    Permalink

    Keeping kids safe online is such a challenge. I talk about this with my own kids and my students constantly and I still see inappropriate things happening. It looks like you have a great resource to use with the social story to help explain it to your child.

    Reply
    • May 7, 2020 at 9:27 am
      Permalink

      Thank you, it’s certainly not easy, social stories are so important for us.

      Reply
  • May 6, 2020 at 8:40 pm
    Permalink

    This is a really eye opening post that needs to be discussed more often!

    The online world can be a really scary place, especially for children so your son’s really lucky that you are looking out for him, even if it’s to his annoyance.

    You’re doing a great job! Thanks for sharing this.

    Love Lozza xo
    http://girlygabble.com

    Reply
    • May 7, 2020 at 9:30 am
      Permalink

      Thank you, I try my best and thankfully it seems to be working well at the moment.

      Reply
  • May 6, 2020 at 9:22 pm
    Permalink

    Not everything needs to end in simply stopping something, especially if it is something that is being enjoyed. Since I believe that teaching how to do something right usually solves the problem, I love how creatively you solved the issue of online safety!

    Reply
  • May 6, 2020 at 10:48 pm
    Permalink

    That info-graphic is really awesome. I remember when my daughter was little and she found a way to talk to a stranger on her DS. I was ready to freak out. She was so sure that he wanted to be her friend and I was visibly unnerved by it all. (This was probably 12 years ago.) It’s sad that children have to worry about being safe but you are doing a great job with communicating that in a calm and creative way. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  • May 7, 2020 at 5:24 am
    Permalink

    I’m new to your blog but have become a follower.
    I became a Mum when I had my son in August, but your description of Jack made me think about my cousin Luke. Luke has autism and is now 20 and has had a couple of jobs. He is currently doing a traineeship.
    Like Jack, Luke is tall, luke is 6ft5, and not slender, meaning people have always thought he is much older than he is, until he speaks.
    I like the way you are enabling Jack to make the TikTok videos whilst also keeping him safe.

    Reply
  • May 7, 2020 at 8:38 am
    Permalink

    Well done in compromising with your son’s tiktok use. Seeing your child get creative is such a heartwarming feat to parents.

    Reply
  • May 7, 2020 at 9:31 am
    Permalink

    Jack’s face morphing video is really good. It’s nice that he’s got something he enjoys he can get stuck in too.

    Reply
  • May 7, 2020 at 1:36 pm
    Permalink

    This is such an eye-opening post! I definitely think it is a great idea for the use of TikTok to be had it is definitely a creative outlet.

    Reply
  • May 7, 2020 at 6:41 pm
    Permalink

    It was perfect the first time. I learn so much from you as well! Keep it up great post.

    Reply
  • Pingback: What’s it like being an autism Dad? - Dad Does Autism

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *