After divorce, it can be difficult for parents to raise a child separately. Each of them has their own ideas about which strategies to use, what to allow the child, and what to restrict. Also, communication with the ex-spouse can cause psychological discomfort.
The development of modern technology makes the tasks faced by divorced parents less challenging but also adds various dangers, all of which we will discuss below.
Divorced parents often experience a lack of communication with their children and control over their development, even if both parties have equal rights after divorce through joint legal or physical custody.
Questions like “How can I obtain full custody over our children?” are a lot more common, as opposed to “How can I get joint custody?”
“Joint custody is the most common type of child custody, but it doesn’t always provide equal opportunities to each parent,” says Melissa Tenny, director for legal document compliance at the popular divorce papers preparation service Complete Case.
Fortunately, advances in technology are capable of closing the parenting gap. These days, the uses of digital devices and software for parenting purposes include:
Frequent communication between a parent and a child is fundamental for a child’s healthy psychological development and self-esteem. But for a non-custodial parent, it is sometimes difficult to establish such contact after divorce.
As a way to exercise parenting time more fully, parents are now able to communicate with their children via video calls (Skype, Zoom, Google Hangouts), web-based messengers (WhatsApp, Snapchat), social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter), e-mails, and chat rooms.
Effective communication between divorced parents is also crucial for better parenting. It is the best way to establish a framework for co-parenting. But as often happens, not all ex-spouses are ready to communicate with each other, even for a short time.
The solution to these issues is an increasing emergence of apps and programs that allow parents to make decisions about their child while keeping live communication to a minimum.
Various studies have shown that most ex-spouses use messages for daily questions and emails for planning more detailed activities for their child. They also use google calendar to synchronize their tasks and monitor each parent’s responsibilities. Several parenting applications help organize day-to-day activities, exchange information, access medical notes and school schedules, and more.
Another type of application a vigilant parent may need is child safety apps. They can be downloaded to a child’s smartphone and ensure both physical and online safety. With such software, parents can locate their children, restrict them from using social media, and even track their driving habits.
The use of digital technology can be advantageous in many ways, such as for parent-child communication or education. But there are also numerous side effects of its misuse. Nicolas G. Carr, an acclaimed American writer focusing on the influence of technology on our lives, believes that a “computer is never a neutral tool. It influences, for better or worse, the way a person works and thinks.” The same applies to other digital sources.
When parents and their children plunge into the digital world with the sole aim to spend more time together, they need to be very careful with their choices about the activities they use.
Parents should control their children’s Internet and social media activities and limit their screen time. For instance, children at 4-5 years should spend only one hour in front of a computer or mobile screen, according to the 2019 World Health Organization guidelines.
Allowing your child to create a Facebook or Instagram account at the age of 10 to be in touch with them continually is probably not a good idea. Not every adult, let alone a child, can handle the temptations of social media or the risks of dangerous communication on the Internet.
The effects of early participation in online social communities can be outright harmful to a child’s physical and mental development. In a recent article posted in Psychology Today, Dr. Tchiki Davis declares that “app designers are trained in psychological techniques that get users addicted and reliant upon these apps for a sense of connectedness.”
Children more easily become addicted to modern lifestyles and fall under other people’s influence because they haven’t yet developed critical thinking to tell what is right for them. The most common adverse consequences of media addiction for children are as follows:
According to a UNICEF poll, 30% of children suffer from cyberbullying at school. Online threats and mockery affect a child’s academic performance and emotional well-being. Particularly susceptible victims of bullying may even develop suicidal thoughts.
Addiction to social media is a disease of the modern age and one of the main reasons for academic failure, resulting in dropping out of school. Children are more vulnerable to Internet influence than adults. Apart from behavioral changes, children experience problems with memory and cognitive activity, which leads to a deterioration in academic performance.
Through social media, the quality of communication is lower than live communication in the real world. Hiding behind the screens of computers and mobile devices, many people often forget about politeness and allow themselves to make statements they would hardly dare to voice in face-to-face conversation.
Prolonged use of the Internet is detrimental to a young person’s mental and physical health. It causes changes in the state of consciousness and the correct functioning of the brain. Excessive time spent in front of the computer and mobile screens damages eyesight and posture and leads to fatigue and depression.
Digital technologies have opened up enormous opportunities for parents to communicate and raise children in the modern world. But the vital ingredient for success is using them wisely to protect yourself and your child from possible risks.