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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Health and Safety Guide

ASERT has put together some resources for those with autism and those who care for people with autism relating to the current Coronavirus outbreak.

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Cyber Safety Tips and Tools

Kids sitting together smiling with computers and tablets



  • Ability to initiate contact with more people who have similar interests
  • Practice social communication skills
  • Removes the need to interpret body language and social cues
  • You can take more time to respond to others
  • Strong interest in screen-based technology
  • Technology allows immediate access to information
  • Aids in learning new skills
  • Source of fun and leisure
  • Ability to control your environment


  • Online communication makes it harder to decipher social communication
  • Ignoring social boundaries (e.g., cyberstalking)
  • Now knowing the “unwritten rules” of social media
  • Understanding the degree of relationships
  • Visiting unsafe sites to research preferred interests
  • Difficulty understanding when information isn’t real
  • Understanding language literally, concrete thinking
  • May not think through possible consequences of online behaviors
  • May spend more time online than on social activities


Facebook provides almost total control over your privacy settings. You are able to control access to your profile information, posts, photos, videos, tagging, comments and likes, timeline, search and newsfeed. You can set individual guidelines on the settings page but can also change preferences on individuals posts, photos and more. Facebook offers a great tutorial on all of these features here: Facebook Tutorial


By default, only friends you’ve added on Snapchat can contact you directly or view your story. To change that, go to the settings from your profile screen and choose the “Who Can…” section. Here you can change who can contact you, view your story or see you in Quick Add.


Privacy settings can only be accessed and changed in the Instagram app, not through a desktop computer. Go to your profile, tap the settings icon and turn on the Private Account setting. Now your posts can only be viewed by approved friends.


To keep your tweets private and protected, go to privacy and safety settings. Check the box beside “Protect my Tweets” and only approved followers will now be able to read your tweets.

Be Skeptical

Do not believe everything you read, especially if it involves clicking a link or installing an application.

Good Passwords

Use good, strong passwords that contain letters, numbers and special
characters. Your birth date, friends’ names, pet names or other things easily guessed are not good passwords.

Stay Updated

Make sure all of your software and applications are up to date. All downloads should be done from the official site.

Be Thoughtful

Think twice about posting, once it’s out there you may not have control over where it’s re-posted or who sees it. Be careful to not post too many personal details and be respectful to others.

Be Wary

People on the internet are not always who they say they are. Not everyone who says they are your friend is your friend.

Check Privacy Settings

Make sure you understand the policies, guidelines and settings for the social network you are using.

Protect Your Password

Never share your password with others. If you think your password has been stolen, use a new computer to log into the original service and change your password.

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Other downloads

Name Description Type File
Cyber Safety Tips and Tools Benefits and Risks of Social Media pdf Download file: Cyber Safety Tips and Tools
Cyber Safety Tips and Tools Privacy Settings pdf Download file: Cyber Safety Tips and Tools
Cyber Safety Tips and Tools Social Networking Best Practices pdf Download file: Cyber Safety Tips and Tools

This information was developed by the Autism Services, Education, Resources, and Training Collaborative (ASERT). For more information, please contact ASERT at 877-231-4244 or info@PAautism.org. ASERT is funded by the Bureau of Supports for Autism and Special Populations, PA Department of Human Services.