It’s a challenge for all parents to determine what electronics their kids can have as they get older and how much access they’re allowed to the myriad content available at the touch of a finger. For parents who are no longer together, these things can become a battlefield.
As the holiday season approaches, your kids may be starting to drop not-so-subtle hints about a new phone or tablet or new video games. This is a good time to think about adding or amending provisions in your parenting plan about technology management.
The types of provisions you may need
While the technology and content sometimes seem like they’re changing faster than you can keep, you can at least negotiate some general agreements as co-parents. For example, you may want to include provisions addressing:
- Whether both parents need to agree before getting a child a new device or increased access on a current device
- What level of parental controls to put on your televisions and computers as well as your streaming subscriptions
- What ratings of video games do you allow your children to play
- Daily or weekly limits on their screen time
Of course, you can do all this, and your children can still be exposed to things you’d rather they not be through their friends and classmates. That’s why it’s important for kids to know they can talk to either of you or ask questions about anything they see that disturbs them without worrying about being punished.
Enforcement across homes is best
You likely won’t agree on everything. It’s best for children if their parents have generally consistent rules. However, when that’s not possible, it’s important to at least be consistent about enforcing your rules during your parenting time. Unless your co-parent is endangering your child’s well-being (for example, by letting them watch unfiltered violence or pornography or regularly staying up half the night playing video games), a judge likely isn’t going to get in the middle.
By including some technology management provisions in your parenting plan, you’re committing to taking control of an increasingly integral part of your children’s lives. Having legal guidance can help you as you do this.