Social Media and Social Work: The Challenges of a New Ethical Space

Social Media and Social Work: The Challenges of a New Ethical Space

Published 8th September 2016

Boddy, L Dominelli 

 ABSTRACT: Social media and other online technologies have transformed communication between social workers and service users, with many practitioners engaging and working with clients through social networking sites. While there are numerous ethical issues associated with online practice related to con´Čüdentiality, dual relationships, and boundary crossing, there is lack of clarity about how to deal with such issues. This article uses a case example to develop a nuanced understanding of ethical issues and ethical behaviour in online spaces. We argue that social workers need to link their knowledge of the complex interplay between discourses that underpin daily practice like those related to power, permanency, authorship, audience, embodiment, and professionalism to social media created spaces. In doing this, social workers must retain their commitment to ethical values and critical reflective practice. We conclude with recommendations for education, research, and practice.

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