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Social media and young people’s involvement in social work education

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Whilst service-user involvement in social work education generally is increasing, young people’s involvement has, to date, been limited, and as such their voice is missing. Social media potentially offers mechanisms for addressing this, widening young people’s participation. This article presents the findings of research, conducted in partnership with young people, exploring different types of social media currently available that may have the potential to be used in social work education to provide young people with a voice. Using methods developed from systematic review processes, the research set out to find, synthesise and collate these different resources. The findings suggest social media could provide an appropriate mechanism for enabling young people to share experiences relevant to social care. However, whilst some resources do exist, there are fewer than expected. A need is identified to develop new sustainable ways of enabling young people to have a voice. Current approaches were found to replicate barriers associated with service provision being compartmentalised, service led and framed by eligibility criteria. Recommendations are made for a united response from social work education institutions supporting approaches that give ownership to young people themselves whilst promoting sustainability and continuity.
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Keywords: Social media; participation; sustainability; systematic review; young people

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Social Work, School of Public Health, Midwifery and Social Work, Canterbury Christ Church University, Canterbury, UK 2: Faculty of Health and Wellbeing, Canterbury Christ Church University, Canterbury, UK 3: Evidence Based Health and Social Care, School of Public Health Midwifery and Social Work, Canterbury Christ Church University, Canterbury, UK

Publication date: April 2, 2016

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