Is it legal for an American psychologist to moderate a site for those with eating disorders?

In this case, "moderate" would mean that the psychologist would be keeping an eye out for anyone posting dangerous "tips and tricks," etc. and updating an area of the site for those seeking recovery. By "pro-ana," I mean a site that welcomes those suffering from anorexia/other eating disorders for emotional/community support, not actually encouraging the disorder.

An Australian friend of mine and I got in to a debate about this. We're both mods on a site for people with eating disorders. According to her, the Australian Psychological Society's code of ethics has a lot to say about how psychologists conduct themselves in their private lives. If it was discovered that a psychologist was helping to moderate a site that could be considered "pro-ana," then he or she would have their license taken away.

I'm not sure about the American Psychological Society's thoughts on it, though. It's my understanding that it's the clients that the psychologist should protect/help, but in their private lives they can live how they want to, as long as they aren't breaking any laws. Sort of keeping private life separate from the office, if you will.

Thoughts? I've been reading through the APA's code of ethics and I can't get a clear grasp on how to interpret it in this situation. Can an American psychologist moderate a pro-ana site in his or her free time, separate from working with clients/fellow researchers, or would they have their license taken away? Would it make a difference if the site is actually a support group for those with EDs and in recovery and not the typically "pro-ana" site the media writes about?

I hope this is clear- Thank you! :-)
Asked Mar 06, 2014

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