Social workers engagement with client information using social media in England
AuthorsOnginjo, Paul Onyango
children, young people and families
Subject Categories::L500 Social Work
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AbstractCurrently, in England there is limited literature providing information about children, young people and families’ social workers use of social media. It could be argued that social workers have always been faced with this dilemma of balancing their caring responsibilities and the control responsibilities, which have now been made more complex by the social worker’s use of social media. The use of social media has the potential as a vehicle to facilitate communication both between professionals and between the social workers and clients. In addition; the law in England provides a framework for the protection of children and ensuring that their welfare remains of paramount importance. This is stipulated under Children Act (1989 and 2004). In the same vein, the Human Rights Act (1998) also highlights that children and young people have a right to family life and a right to privacy. Therefore, it can be argued that there is an underlying potential tension in relation to the uptake of social media by social workers within social services with growing anxiety among both professionals and organisations in regards to the ethical considerations and also the risks surrounding social media use in practice. Social workers were also faced with potential complex challenges that exist, as they navigate between their legal responsibilities as stipulated by legislation and the use of social media in the execution of those responsibilities. This qualitative study used semi-structured interview as the main method to investigate the practice and perception of 47 children, young people and families’ social workers. The study highlights the experiences of social workers in relation to the use of social media in their practice and explores how social workers are using it ethically /unethically or legitimately/illegitimately in practice. Given the uniqueness of this study, evidence indicates that there was a lack of clear policies and guidelines on social media usage by social work practitioners, which further complicates their use of social media in practice. A key observation in this study illuminate that social workers were overriding ethical concerns with a need to protect children and young people in their care, who were at risk of suffering or likely to suffer significant harm.
CitationOnginjo, P. O. (2020) 'Social Workers Engagement with Client Information Using Social Media in England'. PhD thesis. University of Bedfordshire.
PublisherUniversity of Bedfordshire
TypeThesis or dissertation
DescriptionA thesis submitted to the University of Bedfordshire, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
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