Depending on who you ask and the mood of the person you question, people may tell you that mobile phones are a boon for public safety or possibly a curse. People might talk about the lack of eye contact in social interactions or how people record everything these days.
There are certainly benefits and drawbacks to our increasingly connected society. As a parent, you have no doubt had to grapple with the implications of mobile technology at least a few times already. As you start considering divorce or separation from the other parent of your children, you will inevitably need to talk about your children’s use of mobile devices.
Your parenting plan will help eliminate a lot of headaches and conflict in the future if you discuss the three technology issues below and have clear guidelines in your parenting plan.
1. When will your children receive phones?
Every family has its own ideas about the right age for a child to have their own phone. For some, it may be when they are teenagers. For others, it may be when they start driving. If the two of you can agree to a certain age ahead of time, then you can consistently reinforce that boundary with your children as they mature.
2. What limits will you apply to phone use?
Are there certain social media apps that you don’t want your children to use? Will you limit them to a certain number of hours on their device each day? Will there be different stages of rules at different ages? You will have an easier time getting your children to follow technology limits if those rules are consistent at both households.
3. Who will pay for the device and the service?
In a scenario where the parent with less time with the children wants them to get a phone early for direct communication, they may need to absorb the costs of purchasing a phone and providing service to it. Other times, parents may split those costs, and they may share those expenses beyond whatever child support one parent pays.
Addressing technology in your parenting plan will help eliminate a common source of parenting conflicts when sharing custody.