One of the most divisive parenting issues for many couples involves access to electronics and digital technology. This can include everything from when kids are old enough to have a smartphone to how much time they can spend playing games to whether they have unlimited access to Netflix.
For separated and divorced parents, these issues can be particularly challenging – especially when they have different views on electronics and online activity.
What goes into a technology management plan?
Some parents are including technology management provisions in their parenting plans. This lets them discuss their views upfront, articulate their concerns and outline clear expectations and rules for their children.
Of course, it’s typically best for kids when their parents can agree on rules that they’re expected to abide by regardless of which home they’re in. You may want to start by outlining those.
Then, you may want to move on to “deal breakers.” If there’s something you feel strongly about not allowing your child to have, like video games with certain ratings, you probably have a better chance of getting your co-parent’s buy-in if you’re willing to compromise on something you’re not crazy about but that’s not a deal-breaker.
The importance of enforcing your rules in your home
What if your efforts to maintain consistent rules across both homes aren’t succeeding? What if your co-parent either is too permissive or just not particularly watchful? Then you need to focus on maintaining the rules in your home. Kids learn quickly how to abide by different rules depending on where they are.
If the issue is that your co-parent isn’t nearly as tech-savvy as your child, they may be willing to accept your help in better monitoring their access to content. Unless your co-parent is doing something that’s harmful to your child’s well-being, like giving them unlimited access to pornography or letting them play violent video games and neglect their homework, there’s probably not much you can do legally about it.
As digital technology constantly changes and as your child gets older, you may decide you need to update your parenting plan provisions. However, if you start out with some strong, all-encompassing ones that include agreement – or at least consultation – between the two of you, you may not need to modify the plan.