An introduction to the online world

It’s important to understand what kind of risks exist online. There are a number of things you can do to help someone with a developmental disability remain safe.

If you’re not familiar with the Internet, read on to learn about some common tools that people are using online. Learning more about these tools can help you feel empowered to make sure the people you care about are using them safely…

Social Networking

Social networking websites function like an online community of Internet users. Depending on the website in question, many of these online community members share common interests such as their hobbies, favourite actors or TV shows. Once you are granted access to a social networking website you can begin to socialize. This socialization may include reading the profile pages of other members and possibly even making contact with them. Some examples of social networking sites are: Facebook, Twitter and YouTube[/accd]


Facebook is a social networking service and website launched in February 2004, and has more than 600 million active users. Users may create a personal profile page that tells others about them, add other users as friends, and exchange messages. Facebook users must register before using the site. Additionally, users may join common-interest user groups, organized by workplace, school, college, or other characteristics.


Twitter is a social networking and messaging (microblogging) service that encourages users to answer the question, “What are you doing?”. Users send one another short “text message” that are no more than 140 characters in length, called “tweets.” These tweets are directed at their friends, or “followers.” Twitter is estimated to have 200 million users, generating 65 million tweets a day and handling over 800,000 search queries per day.


A blog is a frequently updated online personal journal or diary. It’s usually a place for an average person to express thoughts and passions to the world. But really, a blog can be anything you want it to be.


Text messaging refers to short messages typed into cell phones as a substitute for voice calls. Texting includes messages that contain images, video, and sound content. The sender of a text message is known as a “texter.”

You Tube

YouTube is a video-sharing website on which users can upload, share, and view videos. This site contains content that is not policed or moderated.