Although there is research-based evidence on the educational potential of information and communication technologies as teaching and learning resources for schools, studies focused on the real benefits and risks associated with online activities of students with intellectual disabilities are still scarce. The purpose of this study was to describe and compare teachers’ perspectives on this topic in relation to a school setting (mainstream and special schools), teaching specialty (general and special educators) and teaching level (primary and secondary education).
A cross-sectional survey design was conducted in which a sample of 208 general and special education teachers from mainstream and special schools participated. Participants had to respond to a questionnaire that included questions related to the opportunities and risks of the Internet and online safety.
Teachers perceive that the Internet is unsafe for students with intellectual disabilities and it entails more risks than benefits for these students. Such perceptions may determine the educational intervention, especially when the Internet has shown to be crucial during the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic. Differences were found regarding school setting, teaching specialty and teaching level. The data reflect a lack of consensus regarding the potential benefit of digital inclusion for students with intellectual disabilities, based on the perception that the online environment is not safe for this population.
There is a need to train teachers on how to achieve the maximum educational potential of the Internet for these students, as well as to learn to implement strategies to prevent and manage online risks.