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Staff told to help disabled teen use Facebook

The Local · 4 Apr 2012, 11:58

Published: 04 Apr 2012 11:58 GMT+02:00

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The teenager’s parents set up an email account for their offspring and asked staff at the home to manage it, as the teenage boy was unable to do so by himself.

Personnel, hesitant to comply, turned to the National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen) to find out whether it was ethical or not for them to login as the boy and post updates in his name.

They were worried to manage an account that the boy couldn’t take responsibility for himself, and also questioned whether it was the wishes of the parents or the teen to be active on social media.

However, according to the agency’s ethical council, it is the role of the caregivers to make it possible for the boy to “lead a normal life” to as large an extent as possible.

The council said that for those with communication difficulties, Facebook and other social media enhance their ability to participate in society and a chance to communicate with others on more equal terms.

The council also deemed that Facebook and other social media such as Skype and Easymail may prove to hold potential for this specific teen’s own development, and advised staff to find adequate communication tools to suit the boy’s needs and wishes.

The overall aim must be, the council stated, to increase the teen’s ability to communicate with his surroundings in a way that would further his development and is common among his peer group.

Staff should make every effort to glean whether it is the teen himself or his parents who actively wanted him to be active on social media, through dialogue with the teenager himself.

It is up to the parents to decide what kind of support their children need, but it is the role of the staff to evaluate and decide how this should be organized, the council found.

However, in the case of the teenager’s Facebook account, the council said that staff would have to have serious reservations before declining to manage it for him.

Story continues below…

Siren/The Local


The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

13:00 April 4, 2012 by Puffin
Why is this even news?
13:27 April 4, 2012 by Opinionfool
It's old news too. In 2007, the English journalist Tim Guest wrote a book Second Lives that feature a group of adults in sheltered/assisted accommodation using the Second Life virtual world to establish communication with other people irrespective of any disability. Guest describes exactly this scenario that the care staff were typing the keys and moving the mouse because the residents could not do it for themselves. And although Guest was writing in 2007 the situation had been reported in the world-wide media at least 12 if not 18 months earlier as an existing situation.
13:57 April 4, 2012 by Puffin
It has been the Law in Sweden since 1993 that staff must assist the disabled communicate through physical or electronic means if unable to do this themselves

I can understand that if the child is in residential care/schooling perhaps a long way from home that the parents want updates but also want their child to be able to access photos etc from home
22:36 April 4, 2012 by Dr. Dillner
Must? that seems strange. No one NEEDS to be on facebook.
23:19 April 4, 2012 by philster61
Ii'm bored......
09:45 April 5, 2012 by Cephalectomy
industrial countries problems.
12:05 April 5, 2012 by Da Goat
what a dopey thing to do! if the person in question cannot do it them selves the carers should just log on and shut it down!

the thing that was clear is the facebook account was set up by the parents so neither the disabled person nor the carers should do anything about it !

this is just plain old fashioned Bullying!!!!

well said Dr Dillner Facebook is for disabled people anyhow. GET a life people!
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