The animated film, entitled ‘Safety Net’, has been developed as an accessible guide to keep everyone safe online and is specifically aimed at adults with a learning disability and autistic people.
Commissioned by East Sussex County Council Learning Disability Services, the project has been managed by Lewes-based arts charity Culture Shift, working with the University of Brighton’s Community21 research group.
‘Safety Net’ was the winning entry in a competition run by Culture Shift and the university to develop an adult appropriate online safety resource, and was created and produced by Rhiannon Barton, a 2020 graduate student from the University of Brighton.
Entries were judged by a panel that included people who use the council’s Learning Disability Services.
Cllr Carl Maynard, lead member for adult social care and health at East Sussex County Council, said: “This video, which is a fantastic example of great partnership working, will help support the more vulnerable members of our communities in their digital lives.
“For many people with learning difficulties being able to access the internet is a vital way to stay connected and one that has been so crucial during the pandemic.
“But it is important to know how to access this digital technology safely. Resources such as Safety Net help ensure vulnerable adults are aware of the risks and the steps they can take to stay safe and secure online.”
A recent survey asked people who use the council’s Learning Disability Services if and how they use the internet. Of the respondents who use the internet, most said they do feel safe being online but some have had bad experiences including receiving friend requests from strangers on social media, while others were concerned about cyber bulling and internet scams.
Designed to be used by individuals and as part of conversations and training on the subject of internet safety, the free video aims to help adults with learning disabilities have a good digital life.
The film tackles issues such as not sharing or watching things which are inappropriate or unpleasant, keeping personal information private, and how to ask for help.
Pause points are included in the film, indicated by pause icons that appear in the corner of the screen, to highlight areas that may need further explanation or discussion.
Nick Gant, Sustainable Communities Lead at the University of Brighton, said “The process highlights the value of partnership between different types of experience and expertise to enable the co-production of something authentic, relevant and inclusive like this film.
“It has provided a very current learning opportunity for one of our recent graduates to work with an experienced team to consider how design-for-inclusion can hopefully help engage a wider audience in such a topical issue.”
Julia Roberts, Co-Director of Culture Shift, said: “Culture Shift is delighted to be part of this project which has provided an opportunity to raise awareness of the issues faced by disabled people using the internet through a co-design process.
“The film is a fantastic resource which will be shared as widely as possible to help inform and support the disabled community. It is exciting to see university students using their skills and talent to make such a positive difference in the local community.”
The accessible video, which is available for anyone to view or use, has been created in collaboration with learning disabled adults and professionals from the learning disability sector. The soundtrack is provided by Delta 7, a seven-piece rock band from East Sussex who have different personalities, talents, and disabilities.
‘Safety Net’ can be viewed at https://youtu.be/1oJ8EMfOcGA