Smartphones play an important role in our lives, and for families, they offer a lot of advantages. Not only do these devices allow for new opportunities and manners of staying touch (e.g. Facetime conversations), they also allow parents to keep a tab on where their children are at any given moment during the day.
However, these convenient capabilities can be exploited when a couple is going through a contested divorce and trying to establish custody arrangements. As can be expected, custody cases can be emotional, and when they do, cell phones can become stand-ins for other issues between the parents.
In most cases, a judge will allow the parent to monitor the use of the child’s phone when they are in that parent’s custody. However, often times parents use the technological capabilities of the cell phone against the other parent, whether it be at a means of surveillance or simply a way to antagonize the other parent by offering a way for the child to disobey the rules or disrupt the time the other parent has with the child.
Regardless of the method, it’s the child that is stuck in the middle and it does not help the situation. Below are some tips that can be taken to help work through the problem.
- Communicate with one another before purchasing a smartphone for your child. Prepare a written document that provides for expectations, rules, and boundaries that both parents can agree upon.
- If there are concerns about what your child may look at while in the custody of the other parent, utilize the parental controls that can be enabled but make sure you inform the other parent that you are doing so.
- Purchasing a phone for your child should be done to open up lines of communication between you and them, not as a means of micromanaging or control.
- Each family is unique, and honest open communication is necessary for the arrangement to be healthy and productive.
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