Sensory and Physical (S&P)

Advice by age 14 to 18

This SEND Index of Harms resource is for CYP with Sensory and/or Physical needs. It is broken down by the strands from the Education for a Connected World Framework.

Self-image and identity

This strand explores the differences between online and offline identity beginning with self-awareness, shaping online identities and media influence in propagating stereotypes. It identifies effective routes for reporting and support and explores the impact of online technologies on self-image and behaviour

Likely Harm: Impact of technology on self-image and identity

Behaviours/Indicators

  • Difficulties discerning body image, identity and choice online
  • Vulnerability about own self-image online – raises risk of exploitation
  • Potential risks of depression, low self-esteem and FOMO, misunderstandings can lead to confused understanding of online content leading to increased risk of exploitation
  • May be confused by digital manipulation
  • Fine and gross motor control may hinder access
  • Spatial orientation may lead to misinterpretation of online content
  • CYP may want to develop an online presence like their siblings and peers
  • Parents and carers may regard this as their right and afford some degree of independence and privacy. However, these CYP may not have sufficient awareness to properly safeguard themselves from a broad range of harms
  • CYP may not understand that online images are often enhanced and altered and therefore develop unrealistic expectations of their own image
  • CYP may be goaded into actions and activities as a ‘laughing stock’ thereby damaging their dignity and self-worth
  • CYP may be lured into extremist groups in order to develop a sense of belonging
  • CYP may be ‘dared’ online into undertaking harmful and unsafe actions in order prove themselves
  • CYP may feel excluded from certain sites and online activity due to their physical appearance or sensory impairment

Possible responses

  • Teach basic rules of online safety
  • Online safety toolkit for secondary CYP
  • Mentor-buddy system with trusted, screened peers to act as responsible guides
  • Activities to enable CYP to understand images are enhanced and altered
  • Develop PSHE lessons focusing on self-worth and understanding how others perceive you
  • Activities focused on this specific issue combined with close vigilance and clarity on reporting processes
  • Develop CYP’s sense of self-worth and capacity to self-advocate with sites and activities which exclude them

Online relationships

This strand explores how technology shapes communication styles and identifies strategies for positive relationships in online communities. It offers opportunities to discuss relationships, respecting, giving and denying consent and behaviours that may lead to harm and how positive online interaction can empower and amplify voice.

Likely Harm: Relationships, consent and behaviours leading to harm

Behaviours/Indicators

  • Physical difficulties may impact ability to access online relationships and lead to low self-esteem and depression. More vulnerable to exploitative online relationships
  • May be exposed to harmful language of a discriminatory nature or harassment due to physical differences
  • CYP may be deceived into believing that they i are loving, romantic relationships and be vulnerable to sexual exploitation
  • CYP may experience rejection related to their physical appearance or sensory needs when seeking or forming online romantic relationships.

Possible responses

  • Social stories
  • CBT
  • Lego therapy sessions
  • Play therapy programme
  • Art therapy sessions
  • ELSA support on online relationships
  • Focused work on what loving and romantic relationships are really like and what characteristics are typically found in loving relationships
  • Develop online support networks to strengthen resilience amongst CYP

Online reputation

This strand explores the concept of reputation and how others may use online information to make judgements. It offers opportunities to develop strategies to manage personal digital content effectively and capitalise on technology’s capacity to create effective positive profiles.

Likely Harm: Others may use your online reputation to make judgements about you

Behaviours/Indicators

  • May create a false online identity
  • May not be able to see all online information (visually impaired)
  • May not be able to communicate any potential risks to an adult (PMLD)
  • May be reluctant to share accurate information leading to low self-esteem or anxiety
  • May have a higher risk of self-harm
  • Manipulation of online tools may be inhibited (slow pace) restricting access to media research
  • Unable to manage what others say about them and unable to protect their own digital personality
  • CYP may be provoked into inappropriate or illegal acts by persistent insults and mockery

Possible responses

  • Discussion, visuals around social boundaries
  • The rules of online safety
  • ELSA support sessions around social boundaries – Yes/No, Do/Don’t
  • Videos – online safety
  • ELSA support around emotions and worries/anxiety
  • CBT
  • Lego therapy
  • Art therapy
  • Play therapy
  • Support with anger management – appropriate responses
  • Choice guidance – through basic red/green routes – cause consequence
  • Guidance on seeking support – Who can help me? How do I talk with them?
  • Ensure CYP are aware of appropriate behaviours and how to defend themselves legally

Online bullying

This strand explores bullying and other online aggression and how technology impacts those issues. It offers strategies for effective reporting and intervention and considers how bullying and other aggressive behaviour relates to legislation.

Likely Harm: Bullying and aggression can harm others

Behaviours/Indicators

  • Can be the victim of discrimination and bullying due to physical difficulties
  • May not be able to see/hear bullying or discrimination
  • May be lonely, depressed, isolated by cruel and unpleasant comments
  • Mental understanding may be more sophisticated than physical capabilities causing frustration in inability to explain
  • Vulnerable to exploitation, harassment and radicalisation
  • Be depressed, lonely and anxious, have low self-esteem, experience headaches, stomach aches, tiredness and poor eating; leads to increased vulnerability to grooming, coercion and abuse
  • Think about suicide or plan for suicide leading to increased vulnerability to online grooming and coercion or abuse
  • Be absent from school, dislike school, and have poorer school performance – miss online safety teaching
  • CYP may not report bullying because they fear the reach of the people who are bullying them
  • CYP may not be fully aware of their recourse to law if they are experiencing online bullying or harassment

Possible responses

  • Very specific instructions that are tailored to need
  • Encourage CYP to always reach out to a trusted adult
  • Ensure trusted adults receive appropriate online safety training
  • Teach how to recognise and avoid situations where bullying occurs and how to respond to any incidents that do occur
  • Practice how CYP can act and respond to bullying, including by using role play and links to other areas of the curriculum such as drama and English
  • Talking mats
  • Ensure effective catch up programme for online safety to cope with any extended absences
  • Teach awareness about legal accountability
  • Reassurance around support providing effective protection
  • Workshops designed to inform CYP of their right to recourse to law if they are bullied or harassed

Managing Online Information

This strand explores how online information is found, viewed and interpreted. It offers strategies for effective searching, critical evaluation of data, the recognition of risks and the management of online threats and challenges. It explores how online threats can pose risks to our physical safety as well as online safety. It also covers learning relevant to ethical publishing

Likely Harm: Online information can be found, viewed and interpreted

Behaviours/Indicators

  • May not be able to use voice-activated software which could cause frustration
  • Potentially unable to explain to a trusted adult if online content creates sadness, worry, anxiety
  • CYP may be harmed by seeing themselves as ‘unliked’ compared to others without understanding these are artificially generated ‘likes’

Possible responses

  • Teach CYP with sensory and physical needs the rules of online safety
  • Make use of the STAR online safety toolkit for secondary CYP
  • Focused activities showing how some online activity is computer generated

Health, wellbeing and lifestyle

This strand explores the impact that technology has on health, well-being and lifestyle e.g. mood, sleep, body health and relationships. It also includes understanding negative behaviours and issues amplified and sustained by online technologies and the strategies for dealing with them

Likely Harm: Technology can impact on mood, sleep, body health and relationships

Behaviours/Indicators

  • Unable to explain and understand the benefits and risks of using online sources to self-diagnose and self-medicate
  • Unable to understand the dangers from potential online harms due to physical impairments
  • CYP may be vulnerable to manipulation as they seek ‘cures’ and interventions online to improve their condition

Possible responses

  • Discussions around internet safety and reporting of inappropriate behaviour/content
  • Use toolkit of internet bullying activities including role play, stories and news reports, discussion around cause and effect
  • Work to develop CYP’s understanding of emotions
  • Emojis – understanding and relevant activities
  • Understanding the law – guidance
  • Ensure CYP have sufficiently reliable and credible information in order to make good lifestyle choices

Privacy and security

This strand explores how personal online information can be used, stored, processed and shared. It offers both behavioural and technical strategies to limit impact on privacy and protect data and systems against compromise.

Likely Harm: Personal information can be stored, used and shared which can lead to harm

Behaviours/Indicators

  • Challenges accessing additional ways to protect and manage data on my devices (eg ‘find my phone’; remote access; remote data deletion)

Possible responses

  • Teach young people with sensory and physical needs basic rules of online safety and cyber security
  • Develop an online safety toolkit for secondary CYP that is specific to their needs
  • Ensure staff have appropriate knowledge of accessibility settings for devices used by CYP to help promote understanding and confidence to keep safe online

Copyright and ownership

This strand explores the concept of ownership of online content. It explores strategies for protecting personal content and crediting the rights of others as well as addressing potential consequences of illegal access, download and distribution

Likely Harm: Potential consequences of illegal access, download and distribution of content

Behaviours/Indicators

  • Physical/visual/auditory impairments compared to age-related peers make it difficult to understand copyright theft and online legal/illegal permissions
  • CYP may create content uniquely suitably for their condition but not be able to publicise and protect it

Possible responses

  • Very specific instructions that are tailored to need
  • Encourage CYP to always reach out to a trusted adult
  • Ensure trusted adults receive appropriate online safety training
  • Teach how to recognise and avoid situations where bullying occurs and how to respond to any incidents that do occur
  • Practice how CYP can act and respond to bullying, including by using role play and links to other areas of the curriculum such as drama and English
  • Talking mats
  • Ensure effective catch-up programme for online safety to cope with any extended absences
  • Teach awareness about legal accountability
  • Workshops focusing on the commercial advantages of producing content

Useful resources

See our list of useful resources for further support.

Inclusive digital safety resources

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Professional Online Safety Helpline

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Over 13 – Report Harmful Content Professional Online Safety Helpline

Project Envolve

 

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Childnet Star resource

 

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Advice by Age

Use our list of practical tips to help children have a safer online experience and get the best out of the digital world as they grow.

Making the internet safer and more inclusive

Together with SWGfL we've created this hub to provide online safety advice and gudience to support parents & professionals working with children and young people experiencing vulnerabilities

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