ideas, innovations and apps for social work in the age of smartphones and social media
The recent and dramatic emergence of digital and other electronic technology in social work—such as online counseling, video counseling, avatar therapy, and e-mail therapy—has tested and challenged the profession’s longstanding and widely accepted perspectives on the nature of both clinical relationships and core ethics concepts. These developments have transformed key elements of social work practice and require critical examination of the meaning and application of relevant ethical concepts in diverse cultures. This article explores pertinent ethical implications related to social workers’ commitment to clients; privacy/confidentiality; client self-determination and professional paternalism; informed consent; and professional–client boundaries and dual relationships. The author discusses the need for social workers to re-examine time-honored ethics concepts and explore their implications for the profession’s ethical standards pertaining to the practitioner–client relationship.