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Printed from the ScOPTbox Practice Learning Library

The Social Work Social Media App

This app offers you an amazing way to explore some of the ethical issues of using social media in social work.

In the app you will meet a Team Manager called Adrian, he will present some ethical dilemmas around social media use. Can you help Adrian make the right decisions to ensure his team's practices are consistent with social work ethics and values?

Based on the issues raised by Adrian, you are encouraged to reflect on your decisions and consider the potential impact these may have on your day-to-day social work practises in relation to social media use.

The app uses a games based approach. Therefore, if your advice leads to successful outcomes you will proceed through the scenarios. However, if your advice leads to unsuccessful outcomes for either Adrian's team, agency or service users, you will have to start from the beginning again. Can you advise Adrian successfully the first time around?

The aim of the app is to encourage discussion and debate. As you use the app, try to identify the basis of your advice to Adrian. After using the app on your own, consider working through it with colleagues to explore any differences in decision-making approaches.

The Social Work Social Media app broadly covers the following themes:

  • Is social media skills development important for social workers?
  • What are the ethical implications of exploring open social media profiles?
  • Should social workers be mindful of their online image?
  • Does social media present new personal/professional boundary issues?
  • How can social workers effectively engage in continuing professional development when using social media?
  • Can skills, knowledge and confidence in social media use lead to greater service user, community, inter-professional engagement?

There is a complementary handout available to stimulate discussion.

  • Author(s):
Tarsem Singh Cooner
  • Year of Publication:
  • Type:
Case Study
  • Tags:
Social Work Role
Social Media, Ethical Dilemmas, Ethics, ICT, Professional Boundaries
  • Specific Service User Group/s:
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Handout: Exploring some of the ethical challenges for social workers using social media by Tarsem Singh Cooner

  • Notes:

Learn about social media by resolving life like ethical social work dilemmas

This app was demonstrated and explored at the Thinking of the future: Innovations and developments for social work practice: social media and digital technology for social work practice conference on 8 February #smswp

It's a great resource for teaching and learning and exploring ethical dilemmas around social workers' use of social media.

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Cooner, TS. (2014) The Social Work Social Media App. ScOPTbox Practice Learning Library. [Online]. Available from:

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