Responses from young people in this new and large dataset, provide further evidence of the digital disparity identified in ‘Vulnerable Children in a Digital World’, and Vulnerable Young People and Their Experience of Online Risk.
Young people with prior offline vulnerabilities are at greater risk of harm online than children and young people with none. Equally, the significance of their online lives is also greater.
They turn to technology to be like others, to communicate, to socialise in ways they cannot achieve without it, and of course to learn and have fun.
Many go online to ‘escape my issues.’ In this arena, young people can escape labels such as Special Needs or Learning difficulties. They can form new identities on social media and emphasise other aspects of their identity.