Social media is very important. Many people are worried about using social media because of cyber-bullying. This is a very real concern. Neal reports on his experience.
Listen to Neal here
Who I am
My name is Neal. I am disabled. I have cerebral palsy. I also have a speech impediment. I have many skills. I like to empower young people to achieve their full potential. This is my strength.
What I do
I have been a community volunteer for 11 years now. I volunteer with AbPhab, DABD and the local authority.
I can’t tell you how much I rely on social media. It is such a good way to connect with my colleagues. It is surprising how many disability and other organisations are turning to social media. They are using social media to have a presence on twitter and to engage with potential members or clients with a disability. Disabled people need twitter skills so they can articulate what they need or want or think. Twitter is instant
What types of social media I use
I use Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Skype.
My worst social media experience
I was hacked on twitter and it affected me badly because someone started posting things from my account but it wasn’t coming from me. It made me feel sick. I deleted my account straight away but I didn’t use Twitter for about 6 months because I didn’t feel safe. It meant that I couldn’t keep up with news and I couldn’t comment and read about important social issues.
Skype is a helpful tool for young people. Skype connects friends and family. Skype helps people share ideas, study and learn. But there are drawbacks as well. Broadband is expensive for people on a low income and many young people are very worried about bullying and cyber-safety.
In this post, the inclusive group AbPhab gives Skype a road test.
By Shannon, Hayley, Andre, Shane, Kim, Julia and Stephen.
This evening we talked about Skype.
Skype allows you to talk to and see another person in a different place – they may be in another room, house, borough or country.
2. Researching Skype in our group
Only two people in our group had used Skype.
Some of us had heard about Skype but didn’t know how it worked or how it could be used.
Most young people did not feel confident about using Skype and they felt worried about their online safety.
3. Using Skype
Our group practised using Skype.
We spoke to Mandie who lives in the Borough of Hackney. We were in Dagenham. We had lots of fun getting to know her. We asked her about her pets and her job. We all had a laugh.
Afterwards we talked about Skype and its usefulness for people with disabilities.
4. Is Skype useful?
There are lots of good things about Skype.
Skype helps people stay in touch with friends and family.
It’s fun to see and hear people and watch their body language.
There are some parts of Skype that worried us.
Some people felt nervous about a bad person or a stranger contacting them.
Some people felt scared of bullies hurting them or finding out about about their personal details.
It’s difficult to work out which contacts or people are safe and trustworthy.
Skype is free to use but you need a computer, smart phone or tablet and Internet connection for it to work. Many people with a disability live on very low incomes and they can’t afford this.
We gave it a thumbs up.
We had a fun night road testing Skype.
We want to look more at Skype and video conferencing tools but we want to keep safe as well. Safety is a BIG concern for our group.
We recommend that people explore Skype to see if it is helpful to them. It may be very helpful for people who feel lonely.
In 2012, Mencap published a report called “Stuck at home: the impact of day service cuts on people with a learning disability” This report said that many young people with a learning disability spent a lot of time at home because of government cut backs. They may feel lonely and isolated.
Skype may be a useful tool for young people so they can stay connected with friends and family. BUT users of Skype must know about safe behaviour and what to do if things go wrong as well.
Thank you to easy on the i for many of the graphics on this post.
Over the last two years, the young people at Ab Phab worked on an art project. We visited galleries like the National Gallery, The Tate Modern and The Maritime Museum. We also explored ways to make art.
Our work was shown at Kingsley Hall Community Centre and it will soon be displayed at Dagenham Library.
You can see a video about our work on our video page.