If this holiday season is going to include some new electronics for your child, it may be a good time for you and your co-parent to address your child’s tech access in your parenting plan – or to update any provisions you already have. Kids’ access to the internet, electronics. streaming services, video games and more can be a source of conflict for all couples. However, agreeing on what your child should be allowed access to – and monitoring that access – can be particularly challenging when your child is spending time in two homes.
If you’re starting from scratch with technology provisions, what you address will depend in part on your child’s age as well as what they’ve already had access to. However, even if they’re just getting their first iPad or phone with highly limited access, it’s wise to start planning for the future. While the electronics themselves will constantly change, your basic rules about what is and isn’t appropriate for them will change more slowly as they grow up.
Where do you start?
It’s generally best to start any negotiation with the things you agree on and will commit to enforcing consistently across both homes. The more rules you both agree on, the easier it will be for your child to follow them.
On the other end of the spectrum, you have deal breakers – things that one of you does not want to allow but the other isn’t as concerned about (like video games with a rating of M or above). You may be able to get your co-parent to agree to one of your deal breakers if you allow something you’re on the fence about.
Don’t expect things to be problem-free
There will inevitably be times when your co-parent allows your child to have access to something you rather they do not see or hear. More likely, they’ll see and hear all kinds of things without your knowledge through friends and classmates.
If your child knows where the two of you as a parenting team stand and they feel comfortable asking either or both of you about anything that disturbs or confuses them, you’ve taken an important step in maneuvering a minefield. Having legal guidance as you modify your parenting plan over the years can help.