16 SES 05.5 PS, General Poster Session - NW 16
General Poster Session
Information and communication technologies (ICTs) are embedded in society in a way that we can barely imagine our daily lives without them. The access to ICT, and especially to the Internet, has contributed significantly to promote a better quality of life and better personal, social and work outcomes for the general population (Palmer, Wehmeyer, Davies, & Stock, 2012). The Internet has also contributed to the social and digital inclusion of certain groups that have been excluded from fully participating in the society in the past, such as people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).
Internet access offers multiple benefits to people with IDD in every facet of their lives. These include social interaction, participation, education, work and identity development, among others (Chadwick, Quinn, & Fullwood, 2017). However, Internet use also involves potential risks that must be identified. Overall, people with IDD are perceived as more vulnerable to abuse (Chadwick & Wesson, 2016) and, therefore, more vulnerable to online risks such as receiving or sending inappropriate content, having unwanted contact or using the Internet improperly (Livingstone, Haddon, Görzig, & Ólafsson, 2011). However, little is known about the potential negative effects of the Internet in people with IDD. In the study conducted by Didden et al. (2009) results showed that 4-9% of students with IDD had suffered cyberbullying or victimization of bullying. Wells and Mitchell (2014) also suggest that people receiving special education services are more likely to report online victimization, despite the fact that they use the Internet less frequently. Moreover, a recent study conducted in Spain, Chile and Mexico showed that people with IDD are at higher risk of experiencing cyberbullying and that these behaviours take place more often in educational settings (Jenaro et al., 2018).
These findings suggest the importance of offering training and individualized support to people with IDD and their caregivers in order to gain online access in a responsible and safe way (Näslund & Gardelli, 2013). Therefore, more attention should be paid to what teachers think and know about Internet use by this population and how they can prevent and manage risky online behaviours. The perceptions that teachers have about these issues may modulate students with IDD’s Internet access in a way that can facilitate or hinder its use, limiting, to certain extent, their opportunity to participate in society (Chadwick & Wesson, 2016; Seale, Nind, & Simmons, 2013). The study conducted by Chadwick, Quinn and Fullwood (2017) showed that people without disabilities have some misconceptions about the use of the Internet by people with IDD and perceive that the online benefits and risks are greater for this population than for nondisabled people. In addition, families and professionals from different support services think that the Internet is more risky for people with IDD than for nondisabled people (Chiner, Gómez-Puerta, & Cardona-Moltó, 2017). Considering that caregivers are the main support providers for people with IDD (Molin, Sorbring, & Löfgren-Martenson, 2015) and that some of the risky behaviours take place in educational settings, it is important to focus on teachers’ perceptions to be able to develop and implement initial and ongoing programmes that will promote the digital inclusion of people with IDD.
Therefore, the purpose of this study was to explore preservice teachers’ perceptions of Internet use by students with IDD. We intend to respond to the following research questions:
(1) To what extent do student teachers perceive Internet beneficial and risky for students with IDD?
(2) Which are the most relevant online benefits and risks for students with IDD?
(3) Do student teachers’ perceptions differ depending on the frequency of contact with people with IDD and the gender?
Participants In the study participated a convenience sample of 121 teacher students (77% women, n = 93 and 23% men, n = 28) from two universities of Eastern Spain. Their ages ranged between 17 and 42 years old (M = 21.79, SD = 4.23). Most of the participants (76%, n = 92) had never had contact with people with IDD before, 8% (n = 10) did it monthly, and 16% of the participants (n = 19) came into contact with people with IDD regularly. Instruments An online questionnaire was designed to gather data about student teachers’ perceptions of the potential benefits and risks of Internet use by students with IDD. The instrument also collected demographic information (gender, age, frequency of contact with people with IDD). The list of benefits (29 items) and risks (30 items) was adapted from Livingstone and Haddon (2009) and Chadwick et al. (2017). Participants had to respond to a five-point Likert scale ranging from 1 = No benefit/risk to 5 = Very high benefit/risk. Both scales showed a good internal consistency with a Cronbach’s alpha of .97 for the perceptions of the benefits and .96 for the online risks. Procedure A quantitative cross-sectional study was conducted. Student teachers were asked to complete the survey online during class time. Written and verbal information about the study was provided. Participation was voluntary and participants had to consent prior to completing the questionnaire. Descriptive and inferential analyses were carried out.
Results show that student teachers perceive the use of the Internet by people with intellectual disabilities significantly more risky (M = 4.39, SD = 0.55) than beneficial [M =3.5, SD = 0.88, t(120) = -8.64, p < .001]. The greatest perceived risks were being bullied or harassed (93%, n = 112), communicating with people not known to them (92%, n = 111), being exposed to inappropriate material relating to drugs (89%, n = 108), providing too much personal information (91%, n =110), being threatened (91%, n = 110), and having difficulty to distinguish the trustworthiness of information sources on the Internet. Participants perceived that the benefits of the Internet for people with IDD were moderate with ratings ranging from 2.93 to 4.11. The greatest perceived benefits were keeping in contact with friends and family (70%, n = 84), developing technological skills (76%, n = 92), learning from other cultures (69%, n = 83), developing comprehension and understanding of new information (64%, n = 77), learning about work (63%, n = 77) and educational opportunities (66%, n =80), participating in social (60%, n =73) and support groups (64%, n = 78), and increasing understanding about their rights (61%, n = 74). The frequency of contact with people with IDD did not have any significant effect on student teachers’ perceptions (p < .05). Regarding gender, female participants were more likely to perceive online risks for people with IDD (M =4.46, SD = 0.53) than male participants [M =4.17, SD = 0.57, t(119) = -2.462, p <.05]. Findings reflect that student teachers, despite the fact of perceiving Internet access beneficial for people with IDD, consider that the risks are greater. These perceptions may hinder people with IDD’s opportunities to gain online access. Actions from a positive risk-taking perspective should be launched.
Chadwick, D. D., Quinn, S., & Fullwood, C. (2017). Perceptions of the risks and benefits of internet access and use by people with intellectual disabilities. British Journal of Learning Disabilities, 45(1), 21-31. doi:10.1111/bld.12170 Chadwick, D. D., & Wesson, C. (2016). Digital inclusion and disability. In A. Atrill, & C. Fullwood (Eds.), Applied cyberpsychology (pp. 1-23). Houndmills, UK: Palgrave Macmillan. doi:10.1057/9781137517036_1 Chiner, E., Gómez-Puerta, M., & Cardona-Moltó, M. C. (2017). Internet and people with intellectual disability: An approach to caregivers’ concerns, prevention strategies and training needs. Journal of New Approaches in Educational Research, 6(2), 153-158. doi:10.7821/naer.2017.7.243 Didden, R., Scholte, R. H. J., Korzilius, H., De Moor, Jan M H, Vermeulen, A., O'Reilly, M., . . . Lancioni, G. E. (2009). Cyberbullying among students with intellectual and developmental disability in special education settings. Developmental Neurorehabilitation, 12(3), 146-151. doi:10.1080/17518420902971356 Jenaro, C., Flores, N., Vega, V., Cruz, M., Pérez, M. C., & Torres, V. A. (2018). Cyberbullying among adults with intellectual disabilities: Some preliminary data. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 72, 265-274. doi://doi.org/10.1016/j.ridd.2017.12.006 Livingstone, S., & Haddon, L. (2009). EU kids online: Final report. LSE, London, UK: EU Kids Online. (EC Safer Internet Plus Programme Deliverable D6.5). Livingstone, S., Haddon, L., Görzig, A., & Ólafsson, K. (2011). Risks and safety on the internet: the perspective of european children. full findings. LSE, London, UK: EU Kids Online. Molin, M., Sorbring, E., & Löfgren-Martenson, L. (2015). Teachers' and parents' views on the internet and social media usage by pupils with intellectual disabilities. Journal of Intellectual Disabilities, 19(1), 22-33. doi:10.1177/1744629514563558 Näslund, R., & Gardelli, Å. (2013). ‘I know, I can, I will try’: Youths and adults with intellectual disabilities in sweden using information and communication technology in their everyday life. Disability & Society, 28(1), 28-40. doi:10.1080/09687599.2012.695528 Palmer, S. B., Wehmeyer, M. L., Davies, D. K., & Stock, S. E. (2012). Family members' reports of the technology use of family members with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 56(4), 402-414. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2788.2011.01489.x Seale, J., Nind, M., & Simmons, B. (2013). Transforming positive risk-taking practices: The possibilities of creativity and resilience in learning disability contexts. Scandinavian Journal of Disability Research, 15(3), 233-248. doi:10.1080/15017419.2012.703967 Wells, M., & Mitchell, K. J. (2014). Patterns of internet use and risk of online victimization for youth with and without disabilities. The Journal of Special Education, 48(3), 204-213. doi:10.1177/0022466913479141
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