Episode 4 of the husITa Podcast

An Interview with Dr. Tarsem Singh Cooner discussing the use of Facebook in Child Welfare Services and Social Work Practice

Author: Jimmy A. Young, PhD

In this episode of the Podcast, I discuss ethics, technology, and specifically the use of social media like Facebook in the provision of Child Welfare Services. I’m talking with Dr. Tarsem Singh Cooner about he and his co-author’s article; “The use of Facebook in social work practice with children and families: exploring complexity in an emerging practice,” which is currently available (as of the writing of this blog) via open access with the Journal of Technology in Human Services. The abstract of the article follows:

This article draws from a 15-month participant observation study of social work and child protection practices in England to illustrate how social workers used Facebook to gain another view of service-users’ lives. Social media use was not an intended focus for the study, its presence emerged during our data analysis. While some research has shown that such practices occur, our long-term ethnographic approach provides new insights into how Facebook was actually used in ongoing casework with families and why it was used. Our findings show that Facebook use took multiple forms. Some social workers actively searched service users’ Facebook pages and some opposed any such usage. We further advance the literature by introducing a third group who were unwillingly “drawn into” acting on Facebook information presented to them by others such as their managers. Our research insights suggest that social work must pause to consider the implications of these complex emerging practices.

I really appreciated the international  perspective of this article because the co-authors Liz Beddoe, Harry Ferguson, and Eileen Joy reside in the U.K. and New Zealand. When I first read this article, I thought I would mainly focus on the technological aspects of using Facebook in child welfare practice, but what emerged from the conversation was really a discussion about ethics and values. I have often explained to my own students that we really need to understand ethics and values in social work practice but especially when it comes to digital technologies and I was happy that Dr. Cooner centered our conversation in this subject. The reality is that social media is not going away anytime soon and we will continue to see the prevalence of digital technologies in our clients lives. We really need to better understand these technologies and the ethics of employing them. We discussed several ideas and resources in this podcast, which you should be able to find down below. I hope you enjoy this podcast.

As usual, I want to note that these blog posts are mainly place holders for any links and information that we thought would be good to share with our audience. The Posts will eventually also be home to the episode transcripts. We welcome any digital volunteers who would like to transcribe the episodes and if you feel so inclined, please reach out to us via our Contact page or on social media. Let us know if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions. See you next month.

Research Project website: https://swcpp.weebly.com/

Find more of Dr. Cooner’s work: https://tscooner.weebly.com/

Email Tarsem Singh Cooner at t.s.cooner@bham.ac.uk

The University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK

Tarsem Singh Cooner on Twitter – @Akali65

Liz Beddoe on Twitter –  @BeddoeE

University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand

Harry Ferguson on Twitter – @Harr_Ferguson

The University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK

Eileen Joy

University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand

Episode #4:

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APA (7th Ed) citation for this podcast:

Young, J. A. (Producer). (2021, March 16). #4 – An Interview with Dr. Tarsem Singh Cooner discussing the use of Facebook in Child Welfare Services and Social Work Practice. [Audio Podcast]. husITa Podcast. Retrieved from https://husita.podbean.com/e/interview-with-dr-tarsem-singh-cooner-discussing-the-use-of-facebook-in-child-welfare-services-and-social-work-practice/