Here’s my latest article on McKnight’s Long-Term Care News:
In “A potential lawsuit in every worker’s pockets?”, McKnight’s Editorial Director John O’Connor describes two of many recent incidents of long-term care workers using their cell phones to record residents in embarrassing situations and post the photo or video to social media.
Despite leading to termination of employment and lawsuits, some of the employees involved appear to have no idea that this behavior is a serious ethical breach. Staff writer Emily Mongan offers the following quote in her article on this topic: “They just blew everything out of proportion,” [the offending employee] said. “It was just a picture of her butt.”
Wondering how an employee could possibly think posting a photo of a resident’s behind to social media would be a reasonable action to take, I contacted psychologist and social media expert Keely Kolmes, PsyD , to find out.
Changing expectations of privacy
Dr. Kolmes notes that it’s become commonplace for people to record moments from their lives and post them to social media, generally without consent from others who might be captured in the photos or videos that are shared.
For example, while I get my daughter’s permission before I post anything about her to my private Facebook page, I occasionally find her featured in photos with friends on their pages without prior approval. Posting friendly pictures is considered acceptable in one’s personal life (and a parent who asks permission from their child is, I suspect, unusual).
One might argue that there’s a distinction between personal and professional situations, yet similar situations frequently occur in professional settings as well, such as discovering you’ve been featured in a photo on the website of an organization after attending their conference or on your facility website after the holiday party.
Most people are pleased to be highlighted in such photos, but if an organization expects employees to follow their social media policy, these situations are a prime opportunity to show workers that the policy is being followed at the corporate level as well. At facility events, for instance, notify staff members that photos will be taken and may be posted.
Resident/staff boundaries: Whose life/home is it?
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