The average American adult spends 11 hours each day consuming media, and the stats for teens and kids aren't much better—they spend an average of nine and six hours every day, respectively.
For most of us, a significant portion of that time goes towards social media, seeing what our friends, family, and celebrity crushes are up to. When social media gets introduced to the co-parenting dynamic, it can make co-parenting harder for everyone. Here are some of our best tips for how you can navigate the use of social media in a co-parenting dynamic.
Don't: Use Social Media to Get Back at Your Ex
It can be tempting to attack your ex via social media, especially if they're difficult to co-parent with or regularly engage in behavior that you dislike online. However, you should refrain from openly disparaging your ex or attacking their parenting practices on social media for a couple of reasons:
- It's not a good look in court. If your ex is genuinely engaging in behavior you think makes them an unfit parent, you should pursue a child custody order modification to gain more (or sole) custody, not attack them online. Courts almost always favor the parent they see as being more rational or well-behaved, so posting about your ex on social media can hurt your order modification.
- Your kids might see it. Let's be honest; if your children are over a certain age, they probably have access to social media and will see what you post. You don't want to make your children feel as though they're a source of conflict between you and your ex.
Do: Use Social Media as a Communication Tool (for Parents and Children)
Social media can be an incredible tool for communication between parents and children. Shooting a text to your ex is often easier than calling them, and tools like FaceTime or Skype can be great for chatting with your kids. Other media resources, like videogames, can allow parents to spend time with their children in a collaborative activity the children enjoy.
However, it's important to note here that you should also set boundaries for how often children and parents communicate with one another. You don't want your ex calling to video-chat with your children every day, and passive-aggressively check up on them. Waking up every morning to a new string of texts asking about your parenting habits can be similarly frustrating.
In the parenting plan for your child custody arrangement, come up with boundaries for communication, and stick to them.
Don't Use Social Media to Control Children
Many parents find the idea of apps such as Four Square, which let them monitor their children's location, tempting. Asking your children to keep you updated on their whereabouts via text if they go out for the night or into an area you don't like is fine, but try and refrain from installing monitoring apps on your children's devices.
Cybersafety experts around the world agree that using child monitoring apps only undermines the parent-child relationship. Educate your child on general and cyber safety, but don't try to use social media to control or indicate a lack of trust in the parent-child relationship.
At Beatriz Zyne, P.A., we understand the ins and outs of the child custody process. Contact us online or give us a call at (305) 876-6138 to receive a consultation with our team.