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The Ethical Challenges of Technology in Social Work: Part One

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Presentation on theme: "The Ethical Challenges of Technology in Social Work: Part One"— Presentation transcript:

1 The Ethical Challenges of Technology in Social Work: Part One
Presenter: Mary E. Garrison, LCSW, ACSW Associate Professor of Social Work, Millikin University NASW Illinois Board Member, East Central District Chair Tweet us at #NASWIL

2 Objectives: Gain an understanding and provide reminders of
Ethics/Code of Ethics Review NASW Code of Ethics: Practical Application Implications of Technology in Clinical Practice Tools: Social Media/Technology Policy Development NASW & ASWB Standards for Technology

3 Values in Tension

4 Code of Ethics Purpose: Essential tools for practice: Limitations
Offer guidance and professional standards Improve practice & promote accountability Protect the public Essential tools for practice: NASW Code Other Professional Codes Limitations

5 Areas of Risk Client Rights Informed Consent
Competence & Service Delivery Confidentiality Technology

6 Technology Social Media: Skype Smart Phones: internet
Facebook LinkedIn Twitter Skype Smart Phones: internet Cell phones: texting

7 Benefits Challenges Mobility/Accessibility
Negatively impacted relationships Clients Clinicians Confidentiality Violations Connection Cost-effectiveness Conflict of Interest Interactivity Legal issues Instant support Documentation

8 Applicable SW Ethical Standards
1.03e: “Social workers who provide services via electronic media…..” 1.06a: “Social workers should be alert to and avoid conflicts of interest that interfere with the exercise of professional discretion and impartial judgment.” (NASW Code, 2008) 1.06c: “Social workers should not engage in dual or multiple relationships with clients or former clients….” 1.07a: “Social workers should respect clients’ right to privacy

9 : Applicable SW Ethical Standards
1.07i: “Social workers should not discuss confidential information in any setting unless privacy can be ensured.” 2.01a: “Social workers should treat colleagues with respect….” 2.01b: “Social workers should avoid unwanted negative criticism of colleagues in communication….” 4.03: “Social workers should not permit their private conduct to interfere with their ability to fulfill their professional responsibilities.” (NASW Code, 2008)

10 NASW & ASWB Standards for Technology
Ethics and Values Access Cultural Competence and Vulnerable Populations Technical Competencies

11 NASW & ASWB Standards for Technology
Regulatory Competencies Identification and Verification Privacy, Confidentiality, Documentation and Security Risk Management

12 NASW & ASWB Standards for Technology
Practice Competencies: Advocacy and Social Action Community Practice Administrative Practice Clinical Competencies Research Supervision Continuing Education

13 Social Media/Technology Policies
Essential for practice Share with clients upon intake Must be carefully created addressing: Policy overview and understanding All forms of technology

14 Social Media/Technology Policies
Social networking Search engines Cell/smart phones/texting Skype Location-based services Business/Consumer Review Sites

15 The Ethical Challenges of Technology in Social Work: Part TWO
Presenter: Mary E. Garrison, LCSW, ACSW Associate Professor of Social Work, Millikin University NASW Illinois Board Member, East Central District Chair Tweet us at #NASWIL

16 Scenario for Discussion
#1: Several social workers posted “mean-spirited” and “derogatory” comments about other agency staffers on a social networking site. The social workers assumed that their privacy settings were set to prevent general access to their comments. They did not realize that some network participants had not set their privacy settings properly and that several of the unprofessional comments were now circulating on the networking site. (Reamer, 2011)

17 Scenario for Discussion
#2: A social worker had just discovered that one of his clients had visited his wife’s social networking site. Coincidentally, the social worker’s client and the social worker’s wife were high school classmates nearly 20 yrs ago and had just reconnected via social networking. Neither person knew of the others connection to the social worker. When the client visited his former classmate’s networking site, he was able to obtain a great deal of personal information about the social worker and saw casual photos of him as well. (Reamer, 2011)

18 Scenario for Discussion
#3: A social worker in private practice created a Facebook page. The social worker has been providing counseling services to a client who struggles with anxiety and borderline personality disorder. The client become obsessed with the social worker and was determined to find out information about the social workers personal life. The client found the social workers Facebook page and was able to access personal photos and information and then left explicit information related to the site on the social worker’s voic system. (Reamer, 2011)

19 Scenario for Discussion
#4: Alex is a social worker for a non-profit agency that provides services for young adults, ages 18 to 21 years old. An issue of concern for the agency is frequent missed appointments. As one means of addressing this issue, the director wants to list the agency as a “check in” site on Foursquare. She believes the social game play aspect of the site is a way to engage the youthful population that is served, as well as increase visibility for the agency. continued on next slide…….

20 Scenario for Discussion
#4 Continued: As she explained to the staff, users of Foursquare, a geo-location social networking site, can “check in” while visiting a venue by accessing the app on a mobile device. Each check-in rewards users with points and or “badges.” The director hopes that incentivizing visits to the agency through this social networking site will result in greater compliance with appointments. She tells the staff that a client’s use of Foursquare would be completely voluntary as would be the decision to disclose his or her whereabouts. (Chernack, 2012)

21 Scenario for Discussion
#5: Nicole is a social worker at a children’s hospital. The hospital has an active social media presence on several platforms including Facebook and Twitter. The purpose of the hospital’s use of social media is multi-fold: to engage in consumer outreach; promote hospital events; disseminate health information; provide support, engage in fundraising, and create an online health care community. Another feature of the hospital’s use of social media is to promote its services by providing a section on its Facebook page for patients and patient’s families to “share their story.” Nicole has worked with many parents who decided to post accounts of their children’s medical condition and the treatment that was provided. (Chernack, 2012)

22 Scenario for Discussion
#6: Sydney is a recent MSW graduate who works in the psychiatric unit of a large medical center. A young man was admitted through the emergency room for an apparent overdose that was a possible suicide attempt. The admitting physician requests her help in locating information about the patient who was brought in by ambulance after being found unconscious in a public place. She suggests that Sydney search for the individual on Facebook and Twitter. She explains that she needs help in determining if the patient made any suicidal statements and if there are any factors that are mentioned that would facilitate his care. (Chernack, 2012)

23 References Beckett, C. & Maynard, A. (2005). Values & ethics in social work: an introduction. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications Dolgoff, R. Loewenberg, F.M. & Harrington, D. (2005). Ethical decisions for social work practice. 7th edition. Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole. Kolmes, K. , Psy.D. – Social Media Policy – 4/26/13 (www.drkkolmes.com) NASW News: It’s ‘Better to Be Informed’ About Tech Tools, M. Malamud, 6, 2011. NASW Code of Ethics, 2008, NASW.

24 References NASW/ASWB Standards for Technology in Social Work Practice, 2005 Chernack, K.B., DSW, LCSW-R, Update, Vol. 36, No. 4, Summer 2012, pp. 8-9, 26. National Association of Social Workers New York Chapter. Young, T.B., LCSW. Facebook: Ethical and Clinical Considerations. 10/25/2013. Reamer, F.G. (2013). Social Work in a Digital Age: Ethical and Risk Management Challenges. National Association of Social Workers.


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