Child Custody: Co-Parenting Issues with Electronic Devices
Electronic devices have changed the landscape of how we live, but we are still figuring out the impact technological use has on our children and us. Parents today must grapple with developing rules around technology, and it can be a source of conflict for divorced or never married couples that are now co-parenting in Illinois.
Co-Parenting Issues with Electronic Devices
Parenting children today involves dealing with numerous new issues regarding children and technology. An ever-increasing number of resources are dedicated to helping navigate these issues, including Screen Time Stories—an entire podcast devoted to navigating childrens' use of technology. However, there is hardly a consensus on how parents can best manage children and their use of technology.
Due to the novelty and lack of consensus, technology is a common source of arguments among those co-parenting in Illinois and across the globe. On the one hand, using technology has become a necessary part of life (it's even used for virtual parenting time). However, there is mounting evidence of a link between social media use and depression. These are not easy issues, and they can be emotionally charged because of what is at stake: the children's well-being.
Using Electronics Agreements to Aid Co-Parenting
Electronics agreements can help reduce conflict regarding electronic devices and co-parenting. Electronics agreements are entered into between the divorced parents as part of the parenting plan. They address the rules regarding their children's use of electronic devices (including social media usage) and the parents' responsibility to enforce the rules.
The predefined rules in an electronics agreement help prevent arguments about children's device usage because the co-parents have already decided the rules. Additionally, electronic agreements usually prohibit parents from using their children's electronic devices to obtain information about the other parent. This provides the co-parents with peace of mind regarding the other parents' conduct and helps lower the emotional temperature.
Questions to Consider for Your Electronics Agreement
The following are some questions to consider when developing an electronics agreement:
What devices are the children allowed to have or use?
Can the children have computers, tablets, cellphones, smartwatches, etc.? Again, this may be specific to the child. For example, younger children may be allowed to have a tablet but not a cellphone, while older children may have both.
Who will pay for electronic devices?
Which parent will pay for electronic devices and corresponding services such as cell phone plans? Will parents split the costs?
How much screen time can children have and when?
Parents may wish to limit how much screen time children can have and/or when. For example, it is common to prohibit screentime within a few hours of a child's bedtime.
What social media are the children permitted to use?
What social media platforms may the children use, if any? Do they need parental approval before posting?
Do the children need to share their passwords?
Many parents require their children to share their devices and social media log-ins and passwords.
Will the children's location be tracked through devices?
How may parents use their knowledge?
Of course, you and your children's other parent may initially disagree on your answers to some of these questions. An Illinois divorce attorney or family law mediator can help you reach a consensus with the other parent by using conflict resolution techniques and making suggestions for the terms of the electronics agreement.
Birt Law's Modern Approach
At The Law Firm of Erin N. Birt, P.C., we offer personalized family law services. We embrace modern approaches like virtual legal services that help our clients save time and money and reduce stress. If you are looking for a modern DuPage County divorce or custody attorney who cares, contact us today here or at (630) 891-2478.