As part of my recent research I undertook workshops with children and young people to find out about the principles of design for social care apps. Let me firstly say there are only a few social care apps freely available and those that are rarely are co-produced with children and young people. What I discovered is that are some fundamental deficiencies in the interface of designs, that are not currently meeting the needs of children. If we take the standardised social care systems that are used daily by social care practitioners, we may find some that are easy to use and others where professionals just create ‘workarounds’ or ‘cut and paste’.
The frustrations of what is currently in place constantly make me wonder why we don’t then do things differently. For instance, there is academic research such as computer child interaction, but none that is set in the context of social care. So, if we take a hybrid of social care, tech and children, we can combine this into a new way of thinking. Let the journey of social care tech begin with the child and be created by them, in a way that is comfortable for them…
I believe there is a need for social care to catch up in the app market and further development of social care systems, where the child is central to the design and development and allows their voice and expert opinion to be written into the architecture from the start. Furthermore, that this true partnership is open to all children and young people and not those just who have been through the system and are looked after children. There is a lack of creative forms of technology within the social care sector, especially for social workers engaging with children. Let’s put children at the centre, lets honour them by creating with them and not ‘do to’ or ‘at’ them, lets communicate in real time with children and let’s embrace digital immediacy. We never know what social impact and outcomes this could progress.
If you or your organisation is interested in investing in your children and young people and what to engage with social care tech for them, please get in touch.
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