A group of Kent researchers led by Dr Paraskevi Triantafyllopoulou of The Tizard Centre (part of the School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research) have been awarded £209,703 from NIHR School of Social Care Research to carry out an interdisciplinary research project looking at internet use and online safety for people with Intellectual Disabilities (ID).
Professor Michelle McCarthy, also from The Tizard Centre, and Professor Shujun Li from the School of Computing and Director of Kent Interdisciplinary Research Centre in Cyber Security (KirCCS), are co-investigators of the project, bringing in their expertise in qualitative analysis and cyber security, respectively.
The project will run for two years (2020- 2022) and look at the benefits and risks of using the internet for people with ID, as well as the barriers they might encounter and opportunities being online offers.
The research team will utilise mixed methodology along with the development of an educational mobile app, to address the research objectives.
Dr Triantafyllopoulou said: ‘The timing of this funding was perfect, as online use and safety are immensely important, in a period where everyone is increasingly dependent on the internet to access information about health, social care, shopping and simply connect with each other. People with Intellectual Disabilities are no different. This study will help us better understand the risks, benefits, barriers and opportunities that people with Intellectual Disabilities come across when online. I am grateful to Professors Michelle McCarthy and Shujun Li who have joined forces with me to investigate such an important topic.