Social Work in a Digital Society

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Since launching in 2003, Transforming Social Work Practice has become the market-leading series for student social Workers. Now the books have been updated to include the Professional Capabilities Framework for Social Work, making them more relevant to students and more integrated into social work practice. These books have a greater emphasis on current thinking and policy, and include more opportunities for students to reflect on the their own practice and study.

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Overview

Since launching in 2003, Transforming Social Work Practice has become the market-leading series for student social Workers. Now the books have been updated to include the Professional Capabilities Framework for Social Work, making them more relevant to students and more integrated into social work practice. These books have a greater emphasis on current thinking and policy, and include more opportunities for students to reflect on the their own practice and study.

In today's society an internet connection is considered essential for participation in an increasingly digital society. This requirement is reinforced by the growing online provision of support and welfare services. However, unless the diversity of the service user's needs are taken into account, the technology that enables access will also deny it creating digital divides which further disadvantage those who could most benefit from inclusion. Bridging these divides raises potential implications for social work practice with its underpinning values of empowerment and social justice.

This book will be essential reading for social work students and practitioners who want a better understanding of how new, social and digital media interacts with social work practice and education. By exploring social work issues through the 'lens' of a digital society, the authors show how service users and carers can be placed back at the centre of professional and effective practice.

Using case studies and reflective activities from the authors' own extensive experience, this book directly addresses digital inclusion and exclusion to prepare students for practice in an increasingly digital world.

Sue Watling has 20 years experience of supporting access to digital environments in a range of areas, including Adult and Community Education and Social Services. For the past decade she has worked within higher education and watched with interest the increasing incursion of the Internet and digitisation of learning resources. Currently located in the University of Lincoln's Centre for Educational Research and Development, she supports the institutional development of inclusive digital content with a particular interest in raising staff and student awareness of digital divides.

Jim Rogers is a senior lecturer at the University of Lincoln in the School of Health and Social Care. He teaches on a range of modules on both undergraduate and post qualifying social programmes. He has been responsible for several years for co-ordinating the first year of the BSc Social work programme and has also developed several new programmes of study including a Certificate in the Mental Health and Well Being of Older People and a Best Interests Assessor Programme at PQ level. Jim's research interests are in the fields of mental health and also in complementary therapies.

The Series Editors

Professor Jonathan Parker is Deputy Dean for Research and Enterprise and Director of the Centre for Social Work and Social Policy at Bournemouth University. With colleagues, he developed the Centre of Social Work and Social Care Research and is former vice-chair of the Joint University Council Social Work Education Committee.

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Sue Watling has 20 years experience of supporting access to digital environments in a range of areas, including Adult and Community Education and Social Services. For the past decade she has worked within higher education and watched with interest the increasing incursion of the Internet and digitisation of learning resources. Currently located in the University of Lincoln’s Centre for Educational Research and Development, she supports the institutional development of inclusive digital content with a particular interest in raising staff and student awareness of digital divides.

Jim Rogers is currently a senior lecturer at the University of Lincoln in the Hull School of Social Work. He teaches on a range of modules on both undergraduate and post qualifying social programmes. He has been responsible for several years for co-ordinating the first year of the BSc Social work programme and has also developed several new programmes of study including a Certificate in the Mental Health and Well Being of Older People and a Best Interests Assessor Programme at PQ level. Jim's research interests are in the fields of mental health and also in complementary therapies.

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Table of Contents

About the authors vii

Series editors' preface ix

Introduction 1

Chapter 1 The social impact of the internet 7

The social impact of the internet

The internet and communication

Tracking internet activity

Surveillance society

Digital footprints

Cybercrime

Whistle-blowing and WikiLeaks

Freedom of speech on the internet

Internet gaming

Internet pornography

The internet: A social mirror

Positive aspects to a digital society

Chapter 2 Contemporary digital policy and social work practice 31

Technology and government policy

Digital issues and the law

Public services go digital

Housing

Health: NHS Direct

Health services: online therapy

The digital welfare state: welfare benefits

Procurement

The third sector and digital access

System error

Chapter 3 Digital equalities and digital divides 53

The social model of disability

Assistive technology

Ethics of assistive technology

Assistive technology: access enabled or access denied

The internet and digital divides

Barriers to digital access

Chapter 4 Digital tools for virtual learning 72

ICT and the social work degree

Transferable digital skills

Cognitive effects of digital engagement

Chapter 5 Social work placements and practice in a digital age 91

Technology and social work placements

Digital stories

Cyberethics, good practice and the use of digital technology

Assistance for newly qualified social workers (NQSW)

Technology and continuing professional development (CPD)

Social work practice and the dominance of digital technology

Children and family services

Adult services: personalisation and digital technology

Services for older people

Digital technology and social justice

Chapter 6 Digital literacies for social work education and practice 116

Digital literacies: definitions

QAA subject benchmark 5.9, ICT and numerical skills

Triangle of competencies

Threshold concepts

Graduate attributes for a digital age

Conclusion 136

Appendix 1 Professional Capabilities Framework 141

Appendix 2 Subject Benchmark for Social Work 142

Glossary 147

References 151

Index 158

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