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Ethical implications of Social Media engagement for Health & Social Work/Social Care Professions


Social Media Ethics

@SWSCMedia is hosting a special debate tomorrow evening on Social Work/Social Care/Health and Social Media Ethics. During this debate we will explore the ethical implications of social media engagement for health, social work and social care professions and professionals, and will discuss a number of critical issues including whether social media engagement should be regulated, if yes, by whom and how?

David Niven founder of DNA poses an important question ahead of tomorrow’s debate and shares an extract from his Compass article with us: “Is the only way Ethics?” David explores many interesting points in his article including whether “staff should have permission to scrutinise service-user sites if it is felt that children or vulnerable adults are at risk and information is needed to help the assessment process.”

“An interesting point was the behaviour of Peter Connelly’s mother, Tracey, who according to a Guardian newspaper report regularly shared that, instead of regularly nurturing Peter, she spent her days “drinking vodka, watching pornographic films and having sex” with her new boyfriend, Steven Barker. She also said that she was “Madly in love with the most amazing guy” and that her “fella is nuts.” Given that many professionals were unaware of his presence in the house, or the nature of their lifestyle accessing their posts on social media sites might just have tipped the balance and provided clearer information.”

These questions are both challenging and important. Should social media be used as a surveillance tool and/or as a communication tool with service users? Should we have clear guidance and policy regulation in this area or should we work towards cultivating a culture of e-professionalism?

  • How can we ensure that social workers and health professionals are better informed about the risks and the advantages of social media?
  • How can we harness the potential of social media and mitigate the risks associated with negative outcomes?
  • What are some of the key Do’s and Don’ts of Social Media?
  • Do we need a culture of e-professionalism and what does it signify?
  • Do we need guidelines for social media engagement?

These are a few of the questions we hope to debate and explore tomorrow evening, and look forward to your views in another exciting @SWSCMedia debate starting 8:00PM BST/ 3:00PM EDT. To participate use the hashtag #SWSCMedia and we look forward to seeing you online.

David’s article will be published in The Compass Guide (2013) follow this link to order your copy or to attend one of their many excellent Conferences, Job Fairs or Events.

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