By Julie M. Cilio, Esquire
Even though we may feel like technology has been around for a while now, the opportunities our children have online and through their smartphones is astounding.
Kids have been texting for years. But Instagram, Snapchat, and other social networking apps develop so quickly that as parents and caregivers, it’s hard to keep up. So, why as a divorce attorney, am I writing about this? Because in families with parents who are separated or divorced, understanding what rules you want to govern your child’s usage of technology and understanding the other parent’s rules can be very important.
Kids already play us against each other; and if we have to parent in two households, the odds of being at a tug-of-war over such issues increases. We each have our own parenting style; we each have our own set of boundaries; we each have our own opinion about how smartphone use impacts school work or other parts of life.
How do we make sure that our kids are safe and learning good technology habits if, as co-parents, we cannot agree? Communication is key. Some times, working with a co-parenting counselor can be helpful. Perhaps talking together with guidance counselors at school to determine good rules would be beneficial. Definitions of legal custody are not well-equipped to address this kind of topic where technology usage takes place in so many different areas of our children’s lives. The court system is not well-equipped to decide or enforce decisions about this kind of topic, even if the courts had the best intentions to try to do so. It takes parents, working on behalf of their children’s best interests, to navigate this new frontier.
This information is provided by Hall and Hall Family Law in Richmond.