Sharing – Preventing Online Sexual Victimization of People with Developmental Disabilities

If you’ve read anything I’ve written over the years, you may have noticed that when it comes to kids being online, or protecting kids from sexual abuse, I’m a huge advocate for education. You don’t send kids out in to the world online or off, without teaching them about their own place in it, and how other people might take advantage of them. So, you can imagine my frustration upon learning about this:

In order to make safe connections in person or online, it is widely recognized that access to comprehensive and accurate sexual health information and education is essential. However, the IDD population, which includes 7.38 million Americans, is often overlooked and even excluded. Even more troubling, they are very likely to be excluded from school-based sex ed: 46% of people with IDD with low support needs and 84% of those with high support needs don’t receive any sex education.

No one should be thrown into online, or offline, society without meaningful education about things like consent, what constitutes illegal behavior, the signs of grooming and so on. It’s just setting them up for failure, and victimization. Why would we do that to anyone? Or do people with intellectual and development disabilities not deserve that same consideration?

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