Social workers have a new role, and it’s one they’re struggling to get used to.
“We’ve seen a huge jump in demand for social worker training, and a lot of people are looking to us as the social workers who have been there,” says Rebecca C. Coggan, executive director of the National Association of Social Workers.
“The new social workers, for the most part, are social workers looking to the past for social skills.
We’ve had a shortage of social workers since the recession.
It’s not because there isn’t demand for us, but there’s not a shortage.”
The problem, she says, is that social workers can’t get the training they need to keep up with the pace of change in the job market.
“I’m not sure that it’s ever going to be perfect.
It has to be right.
It can’t be better,” Coggans says.
But, she adds, “we are doing our best.
We’re seeing a huge surge in demand and we’re going to continue to do our best.”
Here’s what you need to know about social workers in the workplace.
The New Social MediaWorkers are expected to have the skills they need in social work in order to navigate social media, including how to:• Understand and navigate social-media networks and how to navigate to a post that’s not an account with a certain userId.• Know what content is most important to a particular user.• Have the knowledge and skills to make accurate decisions about social media posts, including whether or not to share them.• Make appropriate judgments about whether or how to share a specific user’s post, and what to do if you find it objectionable.• Identify and respond to inappropriate or inappropriate posts.
Social workers are also expected to understand the ways in which people on social media can interact with each other, and the ways people can use social media to communicate in a way that reflects their identities.
For example, Coggans says, “We’ve had people post pictures of themselves with other people, and then the pictures are shared.
We have a system in place where if a user says something offensive or inappropriate, we’ll notify them and ask them to stop.
The only way to stop that is to not share the photo or to report it to us.
So, in this particular case, the system was in place to alert the user to the violation.”
It’s not just the social media sites that are a challenge.
“We’re also seeing that many of these social media platforms, like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, are also becoming places for people to create hate speech,” says Coggins.
“For example on Facebook, there’s a lot that’s been written about people using this platform to express hatred and anger, and that’s something that we’ve been hearing in the community.
So we’re hearing a lot more stories and a big increase in hate speech.”
There are several tools for social workers to help them better understand and deal with hateful speech.
These include:• Using tools to flag inappropriate posts and messages• Using tool to flag offensive posts and comments• Developing tools to help social workers better understand the role hate plays in a person’s life and to report them to the appropriate authoritiesIf you or someone you know needs help with a social media problem, contact the national organization at 1-800-724-3889.