Keeping Safe Online: Supporting children with additional needs or vulnerabilities

Online Safety for Children with Additional Needs image resized and cropped




Event Outline

Traditional online safety education may not recognise that online risk is different for every child. How can we support vulnerable young people or children with additional needs to use digital technology safely?

At this half-day conference, we’ll delve into the benefits and disadvantages the digital world can bring to vulnerable young people; we’ll look at the links between offline vulnerability and online risk; and with a particular focus on learning difficulties and autism, we’ll explore the available research and materials available to support education practitioners.

Delegates attending this training will:

  • Be up to date regarding the impact of technology in children’s lives and key research regarding offline vulnerability and online risk
  • Be informed of available online safety educational resources for those working with vulnerable young people or those with additional needs
  • Have the opportunity to share best practice and contribute to roundtable discussions on the key messages and principles for supporting vulnerable children in digital safety – What further support and materials do educational practitioners need?

Supported by


Jess McBeath

Online Safety Specialist, Lemon Tree Consulting

Charlene Tait

Deputy CEO, Scottish Autism

Daljeet Dagon

Barnardo’s Scotland National Programme Manager for Child Sexual Exploitation

Kirsty Macmillan

PhD candidate at Heriot-Watt University, researching online safety in autistic children


09:00-09:30     Registration and arrival refreshments

Session One – Vulnerable children online: what we know

09:30-09:40     Chair’s Welcome and Introduction
Charlene Tait, Deputy CEO, Scottish Autism

09:40-10:40     Interactive session: Offline vulnerability and online risk

  • Young people’s use of technology
  • Recognising how offline vulnerability translates into online risk
  • Resources and sources of support for professionals

Jess McBeath, Online Safety Specialist, Lemon Tree Consulting

10:40-11:00     Tea and coffee break, opportunities for networking

Session Two – Providing young people with effective education, support and guidance

11:00-11:30     Learning difficulties and online sexual exploitation

  • The vulnerability of young people with learning disabilities to child sexual exploitation
  • What works – young people’s solutions

Daljeet Dagon, Barnardo’s Scotland National Programme Manager for Child Sexual Exploitation

11:30-12:00     Autistic children online

  • Why autistic children use online devices
  • What online safety risks may be more prevalent for autistic children
  • Key points re screen time and parental apps in relation to online safety

Kirsty Macmillan, PhD candidate at Heriot-Watt University, researching online safety in autistic children

12:00-12:15     Opportunities for questions and discussion

12:15-12:55     Interactive session: “Education resources: fit for purpose?”

Roundtable discussions on the following key topics:

  • What key messages can we learn from this event?
  • Can we determine a suite of principles for supporting vulnerable children to be safe online?
  • In terms of both preventive education and responding to online safety incidents, can we identify and share best practice?
  • What support and materials do education practitioners need in future?

12:55-13:00     Chair’s Round-up and Closing Remarks


Hosted by

Whitespace – Eventspace,
Norloch House,
36 King’s Stables Road,

t: 0131 625 5500