To read this content please select one of the options below:

Online risk for people with intellectual disabilities

Darren David Chadwick (Department of Psychology, Faculty of Education Health and Wellbeing, University of Wolverhampton, Walsall, UK)

Tizard Learning Disability Review

ISSN: 1359-5474

Article publication date: 8 October 2019

Issue publication date: 5 November 2019




The purpose of this paper is to summarise the current state of empirical knowledge pertaining to online risk and cybercrime relating to people with intellectual disabilities (ID).


This narrative review summarises, synthesises and critically evaluates the current literature and state of knowledge and offers suggestions for extending current knowledge and practice.


Evidence regarding risk for people with ID is limited but growing. Existing findings highlight that: risk may increase contingent upon higher levels of sociability, loneliness, anxiety and depression, poorer insight, judgement, discrimination and ability to detect deception online and reduced experience and life opportunities; people without ID perceive high online risk for people with ID, which may lead to gatekeeping restrictions and controlling digital access; restriction may potentially impede online self-determination, participation and development by people with ID; and experience of risk may enhance awareness, independence and resilience in managing future online risk amongst people with ID. Further research work is needed in this area to enhance understanding of risk experience and effective support strategies.


This review of current knowledge has highlighted the necessity for more research to better understand the propensity for engagement in different risky online behaviours and to better inform support practices to help people with ID to manage risk whilst maintaining digital inclusion.



Chadwick, D.D. (2019), "Online risk for people with intellectual disabilities", Tizard Learning Disability Review, Vol. 24 No. 4, pp. 180-187.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles