Technology is an increasingly important part of the lives of many children. This is especially true over the past year, as children may have taken classes remotely and connected with their friends and family largely through digital communication.
However, technology can also be a significant source of conflict for co-parents, especially if they disagree with what type and how much technology will be used in their home. How can parents address their concerns about technology after divorce?
Parents can address technology in their parenting plan
One important way for parents to limit future conflicts about their child’s use of technology is to address those concerns when creating a parenting plan. Some of the many questions that parents should consider when creating their parenting plan include:
- When will children receive certain technological tools? Are you or your ex allowed to purchase a phone, computer or gaming system without consulting the other parent? At what age is your child be allowed to have a smartphone?
- Will you place limits on technology usage? Will your child have a limited amount of screen time per day or per week? Will you restrict gaming to weekends? How late at night can your child use their technology?
- Who pays the bills? If your child has a cell phone, who will pay the monthly bill? If your child enjoys gaming, who will pay for those games? What budget will you have in place for these costs?
- Under what conditions can you restrict access to electronics? If your child misbehaves or if their grades struggle, can you or your ex ground them from electronics?
- What kind of games can your child play? Will your child be allowed to play video games that contain adult content? If you disagree about whether a game is appropriate, how will you resolve this conflict?
- Are you allowed to install parental controls? Will you and your ex restrict your child’s access to specific websites? Are you allowed to monitor their internet usage?
If you share custody with your ex, you may also want to discuss how you can use technology to contact your child during the other parent’s parenting time. Consider discussing which methods you can use, how often you can reach out and what constitutes an acceptable interruption of parenting time.
Why is a technology plan so important?
When both parents provide consistent guidelines, you can provide your child with much-needed consistency. You can also prevent future conflicts with your ex resulting from different approaches to your child’s technology usage.
If questions about technology are an important part of your parenting plan, an experienced family law attorney can help you negotiate an agreement that achieves your parenting goals.