Communities, games and risk: Parental and adolescences perspectives of social media use in ASD.

Carrie Ballantyne, Gillian Hendry, Karri Gillespie-Smith

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Background Autistic groups (who have good reading ability and less/moderate autism severity) have been found to spend greater amounts of time online compared to their typical counterparts (Kagohar et al., 2013) and rely more on online communication for social interactions and relationships (Heasman & Gillespie, 2018). Despite this however, the real life social vulnerability often reported within this group may be extrapolated to these online platforms, increasing the risk of online bullying, peer pressure and exposure to images displaying violent and sexual content (Livingstone, Kirwil, Ponte, & Staksrud, 2014). The current study aimed to ask autistic adolescents and parents about the perceived barriers and risks to engaging online and how social media has impacted autistic adolescents’ relationships.MethodA qualitative methodology was used. A sample of 8 autistic adolescents and 6 parents who have autistic children participated in individual semi – structured interviews. ResultsUsing a thematic analysis, several different themes emerged from the children and parents. Parents discussed the importance of education, socialisation and online safety, whereas autistic adolescents discussed the positive influence of social media and the risks involved. ConclusionsThis study shows the importance of understanding the lived experience of the individual and the difficulties and benefits of using social media as a communication tool for those with autism and the concerns of their parents. The study highlights the need for further support as well as increased risk awareness for both autistic adolescents and their families.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 16 Dec 2019
EventSeattle Club Conference - London, United Kingdom
Duration: 16 Dec 201917 Dec 2019


ConferenceSeattle Club Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


Dive into the research topics of 'Communities, games and risk: Parental and adolescences perspectives of social media use in ASD.'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this