Social workers are using technology more and more to provide services to clients, communicate with clients, learn about clients, interact with colleagues, and instruct students and other professionals.
New and unanticipated ethical challenges have been brought about by the development of technology, particularly the internet, text (SMS), email, video, social media, cloud storage, and other types of digital communication and software.
The technical environment of today is very different from that of just 10 to 15 years ago. Home landlines have been replaced by smartphones. Texting has become a common way to communicate on both a personal and professional level.
Employees use tablets and other portable devices for a variety of tasks in all industries, including health and human services, education, government, and business. Like any other profession, social work practice now faces issues, difficulties, and risks that did not exist in the past.
Recent years have seen significant efforts made to create new ethical standards for the field of social work as a result of these tremendous changes in how social workers utilize technology. These initiatives have taken place in three different, albeit connected, domains: practice standards, regulatory and licensing standards, and code of ethics standards.
Four significant social work organizations—NASW, ASWB, the Clinical Social Work Association (CSWA), and the Council on Social Work Education—worked together to create the recently released updated standards (CSWE).
The guidelines include four primary areas of electronic technology used by social workers: public information, service design and delivery, gathering, managing, storing, and accessing client information, and training and supervising social workers.
The inter collaboration in the creation of technological standards results in one resource and product that social workers can use.
With a greater reliance on the Internet and mobile devices for communication, entertainment, information, and practical chores, digital technologies have significantly expanded during the past ten years. Additionally, technology has crept into social work, frequently without conscious choice or critical thought.
This article, which combines the key ideas from recent literature and a content analysis of nine professional social work Codes of Ethics, provides an overview of key ethical considerations when integrating technology into social work practice in response to the demand for clear policies, procedures, and training for technology use.
The new technology standards are intended to direct social workers’ use of technology, increase their understanding of their ethical obligations while using technology, and educate social workers, employers, and the general public on the standards of practice for social workers’ use of technology.
In addition to the NASW Code of Ethics, other social work standards, and applicable laws and regulations, social workers should take these principles into account. The standards presented here should be modified as necessary when new technological forms continue to appear.
In the social work sector, which is focused on people, technology has emerged as a crucial element. The means and resources available to social workers to assist their clients and oversee social work practices have increased thanks to technological advancements.
In essence, it eliminates obstacles and gives field workers the ability to stay up to date through online webinars, training courses, and aggregators that can look for specific articles and debates on subjects pertinent to social workers.
It also expands a new area of ethical caution at the same time. The use of technology requires ethical bounds just like in-person meetings and proper paper management do.
Social workers can now more readily contact with clients without having to commute or travel thanks to online technology and the internet. Online counselling, client information management, social workers’ education, and other uses of technology for social work tasks are a few examples.
The technology standards for social work practice that we have discussed in this piece do not specify if or how social workers should use technology, but they do educate social workers about some of the difficulties and issues that should be taken into consideration when making this decision.
The use of technology in social work jobs raises some ethical questions, although such questions can be resolved. The numerous advantages of employing technology to carry out social worker duties outweigh the drawbacks.
Technology has improved the field of social work in a number of ways, including the ability to train more people for careers in social work, access to information, research, and resources, the capacity to communicate with clients more quickly, the expansion of client information access, and the capacity to serve a larger number of clients.