Having a disability, in particular, an intellectual disability, is associated with Internet non-use. This article explores how people with intellectual disabilities used the Internet across the United Kingdom during the COVID-19 pandemic. In April to May 2021, 571 adults with intellectual disabilities were interviewed. Participants most commonly used the Internet for being with family and friends, social media or doing online activities with other people. People who lived with family were the most likely to use social media; people who lived with other people with intellectual disabilities were the least likely. People who self-reported as not lonely were more likely to use the Internet for online activities with others and play video games with others. Social connections were identified as the best thing about the Internet. Many participants chose not to identify a worst thing about Internet use, while others reported issues with technology, online harm and threats to well-being.
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship and/or publication of this article: This research was jointly funded by UK Research and Innovation (MR/V028596/1) and the National Institute for Health Research (COV0196) and supported by the Department for Health and Social Care (National Institute for Health Research) as part of the UKRI-DHSC COVID-19 Rapid Response Rolling Call. The views expressed in this publication are those of the authors and not necessarily those of DHSC, NIHR, UKRI or MRC.
- intellectual disability
- learning disability
- Sociology and Political Science