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Caregivers' Role in Cybersecurity for Aging Information Technology Users with Intellectual Disabilities
Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking  (IF4.157),  Pub Date : 2021-09-15, DOI: 10.1089/cyber.2020.0572
Jessica N. Rocheleau, Hajer Chalghoumi, Jeffrey Jutai, Susan Farrell, Yves Lachapelle, Virginie Cobigo

Information technology (IT) users with intellectual disabilities (ID) are likely to experience online privacy violations without adequate support from their caregivers. Given that aging users face additional challenges when using IT than their younger counterparts, the goal of this exploratory study is to investigate caregivers' strategies and barriers for helping to protect the privacy of aging IT users with ID. Six caregivers (four paid caregivers, two family members) of aging users with ID completed a series of six focus groups about their experiences assisting the people they support with using IT, including their strategies and barriers for helping to protect these users' privacy. Participants were also asked about their own attitudes and experiences related to online privacy and information security. Based on our inductive thematic analysis of the qualitative data, participants used three main strategies to help protect the privacy of aging users with ID: (1) restricting access to personal information, (2) limiting disclosure of personal details, and (3) providing just-in-time instruction and feedback. We also identified four key barriers to privacy protection: (1) limited awareness and knowledge about information security, (2) balancing privacy and autonomy, (3) maintaining professional boundaries, and (4) residential care services' policies. Inclusive and transdisciplinary research is needed to address the elevated privacy and security risks for aging IT users with ID, and provide caregivers with training on how to support this population to use IT safely. Technology developers should create solutions to decrease aging users with ID's dependence on caregivers for privacy protection.