Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


40th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2014

Event Details

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Symposium #366
CE Offered: BACB
Ethical Issues Related to the Use of Social Media by Behavior Analysts
Monday, May 26, 2014
11:00 AM–11:50 AM
W190b (McCormick Place Convention Center)
Area: CSE; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Neal Miller (University of Memphis)
Discussant: Amanda N. Kelly (Malama Pono Autism Center)
CE Instructor: Neal Miller, Ph.D.

This symposium will explore the unique ethical issues raised for practitioners when using modern online tools such as social media sites. One presentation will cover issues related to dissemination of behavior analysis, and how this can be done responsibly and honestly through these new forms of media. The other presentation will cover privacy issues and dual relationships as they relate to professionals in our field. Each presentation will tie these concerns to the BACB guidelines for ethical conduct, and standards that have been established in other fields of practice. After these presentations, the discussant will share her perspective as someone who has used social media sites extensively to promote behavior analysis, and we will take questions from attendees in order to further explore and discuss the topic of how social media might impact our ethical responsibilities to the public.

Privacy and Dual Relationships: Challenges of Practicing Behavior Analysis Ethically in the Digital Age
Laura Baylot Casey (University of Memphis), NEAL MILLER (University of Memphis), Elisabeth Claire Langford (University of Memphis)
Abstract: Practicing behavior analysts are increasingly involved in online marketing and networking through social media. Electronic communication is the means by which we set appointments, send documents, and discuss ideas with colleagues. It is also the way we store personal pictures, joke with our friends, and talk about our formerly private lives. Due to the inevitable overlap of personal and professional lives in the world of social networking, there is a need for special caution when posting information online. Furthermore, issues like “friending” clients or co-workers, and setting up personal blogs can raise issues of confidentiality and dual relationships that relate to our professional ethics. The connection between these issues and the BACB guidelines for responsible conduct will be discussed, with an emphasis on steps we can take to protect our clients and professional reputation in the digital age.

Ethical Considerations in the Dissemination of Behavior Analysis Through Social Media

JONATHAN W. IVY (Mercyhurst University)

As behavior analysts, we believe that we possess a science that could improve the world. However, society has been slow or even reluctant to adopt a science of behavior. The advent of social media and continued improvements in information technology provide new methods by which dissemination could occur. For the first time, behavior analysts have the tools to present our science on the grandest scale. The very potential of this technology is exciting for our field; however, this must be tempered by an ethical duty to be truthful and maintain objectivity. In this presentation, the ethical issues related to dissemination via social media and other information technologies will be explored. Additionally, guidelines and suggestions as to how to make the most of this technology will be provided.




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