Information and Communication Technologies in Social Work
Keywords: Information and communicty technology, ethics, innovation, continuing education
AbstractInformation and communication technologies (ICTs) are electronic tools used to convey, manipulate and store information. The exponential growth of Internet access and ICTs greatly influenced social, political, and economic processes in the United States, and worldwide. Regardless of the level of practice, ICTs will continue influencing the careers of social workers and the clients they serve. ICTs have received some attention in the social work literature and curriculum, but we argue that this level of attention is not adequate given their ubiquity, growth and influence, specifically as it relates to upholding social work ethics. Significant attention is needed to help ensure social workers are responsive to the technological changes in the health care system, including the health care infrastructure and use of technology among clients. Social workers also need ICT competencies in order to effectively lead different types of social change initiatives or collaborate with professionals of other disciplines who are using ICTs as part of existing strategies. This paper also identifies potential pitfalls and challenges with respect to the adoption of ICTs, with recommendations for advancing their use in practice, education, and research.
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