Virtual Counseling

Scott Carlson, Tidsskriftet for Universiteternes Efter- og Videreuddannelse, Nov 14, 2002
Commentary by Stephen Downes

It's hard to see the down-side of online counselling, but the Chronicle has managed to find one: the potential for lawsuits. According to the article, "many college counselors, even those who run Internet sites, wonder if that is taking online counseling too far. They say they would worry about maintaining student privacy online and protecting themselves from lawsuits." Well look: privacy is of course important, but no more so online than in any other environment. I think this article is a dramatic over-reaction, the sort spawned by a lack of knowledge about internet technologies than by anything else. Would you really be sued because you didn't read a suicidal student's email on time? It's no more likely than being sued for missing a phone call, or being out of the office.
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