Paper presented at #husITa14 in Melbourne, Australia, July 2014.
Camilla Granholm (University of Helsinki, Finland).
Finnish social work professionals have been ambivalent toward using new technologies in their work. Social workers often link technology use with writing reports in electronic systems, keeping records, collecting client data and other interventions made in order to measure the effectiveness of the work. Social workers feel this endless reporting is limiting the time they can spend with clients. In social work face to face meetings have been considered crucial for forming a confident relationship between the social worker and the client.
Still research on, for instance therapeutic online support groups show that the confidence and the bound between the therapist and the clients can be as strong in online as in off-line counselling situations. Alternative ways of meeting and keeping in contact with social workers can be favourable for some groups of clients. Yet increased use of information- and communication technology can contribute to a greater inequality. Using online services demands a certain amount of technological equipment, knowledgeand skills. It is not recommendable or even possible to shift to doing social work exclusively in virtual mode. In my research and in my presentation I promote a critical consideration of which areas and methods of intervention in social work would benefit from developing alternative practices.
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