The rise of social care ‘e-services’

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Digital communication is playing an increasing role in the lives of social workers but, along with opportunities to share best practice and reach service users, professionals need to be aware of the pitfalls.


Social work is moving online, as new technology offers innovative ways of delivering training and services. But the transition involves challenges and potential risks.


Digital communication and social media provide new ways of connecting professionals with each other, and with their clients, while recent years have seen the introduction of “e-services”, where support and information is available online. For example, Swedish teenagers with a question about drugs or alcohol can turn to a website for instant answers and in Belgium, online “chat help” is offered to people with queries and concerns about healthcare issues.


The Joint World Conference on Social Work and Social Development, hosted in Sweden, heard how digital communication is playing an increasing role in professionals’ working lives. As the co-founder of Skype is Swedish, and half of Sweden’s adult population are said to be signed up to Facebook, a similiar percentage as the UK, the use of social media by students and professionals seemed an appropriate topic for the conference.

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