There is no doubt that practices applied in the field of social work are strictly connected to changes that take place in human society. Taking into consideration the fact that they can be of different nature, it is possible to suppose that the impact that they produce remains one of the primary forces shaping and changing attitudes to work of those people related to social work. If we speak about such country as Australia that is often regarded as an example of a stable society, it is extremely important to understand that changes related to notions of family and childhood also take place there. This paper is devoted to discussion of changes related to technology development, demographic shifts, cultural diversity, and ideals and their connection with social work.
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As for the particular cultural changes in the last fifty years that have influenced the world and social work as well, it can be important to divide them into a few groups. To begin with, a lot of things and people’s assumptions seem to have changed due to quite rapid development of modern means of communication (Partridge, 2014). People in Australia and in other countries have been given access to a large amount of information due to the development of the Internet and a wide range of devices allowing to consume information and tell other people about something important related to their life. As for the connection between this global trend and social work, it can be stated that it has both positive and negative impact on certain practices used by social workers when they have to deal with young people, children, and families. On the one hand, modern children and families, in general, have access to any information due to these inventions, and this is why it can be often regarded as an opportunity that they can use in order to solve problems on their own (Dezuanni, Dooley, Gattenhof, & Knight, 2015, p. 12). On the other hand, it can be said that a lot of people tend to use these opportunities in the wrong way. Furthermore, ideas that people want to take example by also tend to change, and social workers have more clients whose values and attitudes differ markedly from ones supported by people from previous generations.
Apart from that, there are a lot of sociological changes that take place and encourage social workers to implement newer concepts into their work. To begin with, there is no doubt that the majority of people in Australia and other countries suppose intercultural communication to be very important for the further development of human society. Therefore, it may be stated that growing cultural diversity is an important tendency that may also influence social workers (Rubin & Babbie, 2016, p.116). Thus, the number of families whose members belong to different races has increased during the past fifty years, and this tendency encourages specialists related to social work to extend their knowledge on characteristics of different cultures in order to be ready to provide such families with proper assistance (Sue & Rasheed, 2015).
Due to the increasing number of cultures, social workers in Australia and all over the world have to improve cultural competence as it becomes a very important skill. What is more, there are certain demographic shifts that also influence the experience of social workers. They include an increasing number of single parents and the overall aging of the population (Biggs, Carr, & Haapala, 2015). Besides, the number of married couples becomes lower whereas the rates of cohabitation tend to increase. These changes have a strong influence on the notion of family in general, and social workers are supposed to take them into consideration while providing their clients with assistance. In the end, such tendencies related to modern society as demographic changes and the growth of cultural diversity cause the necessity of additional education for social workers.
Social and cultural changes discussed are supposed to be factors influencing social workers’ attitudes to work practices they use. Nevertheless, another thing that is extremely significant in this context is the personal experience of a social worker connected with family relationships (Wayne, Casper, Matthews, & Allen, 2013). As it is clear from the author’s personal experience, the family should be seen as the community where people are united not only by the proximity of blood but also by common values, traditions, and cultural assumptions. At the same time, the author has no children yet and this fact also needs to be taken into consideration. Therefore, it can be supposed that these ideas will have a strong influence on his future working practice. In fact, such experience is likely to encourage social workers to do their best in order to help those clients who have urgent problems related to the family. As for the second idea concerning children, it may sometimes be a barrier making it more difficult for social workers to communicate with children that need their help. Therefore, it can be stated that the personal experience of the author may have both positive and negative effect on his future practice.
Speaking about social work with children, families, and young people in connection with personal experience of the author, it is also necessary to single out strong points related to it that may help the author in the future. To begin with, it is necessary to consider certain characteristics of the author such as young age and great experience of communication with young people. It is necessary to understand that such experience significantly increases the effectiveness of measures implemented by social workers when it comes to working with particular categories of the population. As for the work with families and children, it can be supposed that another strong suit of the author is related to ability to defuse conflicts caused by the value that he attaches to family relationships.
Apart from strong points, it is also important to consider the areas that the author will need to develop in order to improve his work performance. In the first instance, it may be necessary for the author to do his best in order to extend knowledge related to child psychology paying increased attention to specific problems that may occur in children. Due to the fact that the author has no children, it may be a very important measure. This group of population is quite difficult to work with as divergent approach may be needed and respecting the identities of a child is also essential (James & Prout, 2015, p. 45).
In the end, there are a lot of factors causing cultural and social changes in Australia and other countries related to technology development and intercultural communication. It is hard to overestimate their role as they influence many spheres of activity such as social work. Besides, personal experience related to family relationships also predetermines the strengths and weaknesses that specialists in social work have.
Biggs, S., Carr, A., & Haapala, I. (2015). Work, aging, and risks to family life: the case of Australia. Canadian Journal on Aging, 34(03), 321-330.
Dezuanni, M., Dooley, K., Gattenhof, S., & Knight, L. (2015). iPads in the early years: Developing literacy and creativity. New York, NY: Routledge.
James, A., & Prout, A. (2015). Constructing and reconstructing childhood: Contemporary issues in the sociological study of childhood. New York, NY: Routledge.
Partridge, P. H. (2014). Society, schools and progress in Australia. New York, NY: Elsevier.
Rubin, A., & Babbie, E. R. (2016). Empowerment series: Research methods for social work. New York, NY: Cengage Learning.
Sue, D. W., & Rasheed, J. M. (2015). Multicultural social work practice: A competency-based approach to diversity and social justice. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons.
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Wayne, J. H., Casper, W. J., Matthews, R. A., & Allen, T. D. (2013). Family-supportive organization perceptions and organizational commitment: The mediating role of work–family conflict and enrichment and partner attitudes. Journal of Applied Psychology, 98(4), 606.