When working with people as social workers do, human connection can play an integral role in helping individuals, families, and groups overcome some of life’s most difficult challenges. However, as increasingly more people connect online via the internet and through social media, it’s important for social workers, and those seeking to begin a career in social work, to understand how their role is evolving and how best to harness the power of technology.
The Pew Research Center reports 86% of all U.S. adults are internet users, and 79% of them use Facebook, which is more than double the usage of those using Twitter (24%), Pinterest (31%), Instagram (32%), or LinkedIn (29%).* Clients integrate technology into practically all aspects of their lives. Attaining knowledge about and participating in these client practices will lead to understanding how technology affects a social worker’s clientele.†
According to the National Association of Social Workers (NASW), technology has changed the social work profession—impacting those at the individual practitioner level all the way to the agency level.‡ Here are five ways social workers use technology:
Though using technology may not be new to the social work profession, there are many social workers who have not fully embraced all of the benefits that technology can bring to their clients and the profession. Learning how to use different types of technology in ethical practice can greatly improve the lives of others.
Walden University is an accredited institution offering online social work degree programs, including the Master of Social Work (MSW), Doctor of Social Work (DSW), and PhD in Social Work. Expand your career options and earn your degree in a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.
*S. Greenwood, A. Perrin, and M. Duggan, Social Media Update 2016, Pew Research Center, on the internet at www.pewinternet.org/2016/11/11/social-media-update-2016.
†E. Belluomini, Technology Changing the Face of Social Work, The New Social Worker, on the internet at www.socialworker.com/feature-articles/technology-articles/Technology_Changing_the_Face_of_Social_Work.
‡National Association of Social Workers, NASW & ASWB Standards for Technology and Social Work Practice, on the internet at www.socialworkers.org/practice/standards/NASWTechnologyStandards.pdf.
§Our Lady of the Lake University, How Social Workers Use Technology, on the internet at onlineprograms.ollusa.edu/msw/resources/how-social-workers-use-technology.
**C. Reardon, Tech-Savvy Social Work—Meeting the Digital Demand, Social Work Today, on the internet at www.socialworktoday.com/archive/072009p12.shtml.
Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, www.hlcommission.org.
Walden University’s Master of Social Work (MSW) program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), a specialized accrediting body recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). CSWE’s Commission on Accreditation is responsible for developing standards that define competent preparation for professional social workers and ensuring that social work programs meet these standards.