It is virtually impossible as a parent to not be concerned about the amount of “screen time” their children are exposed to on a daily basis. The phrase “screen time” involves tablets, smart phones, television, computers and any other electronic device. Families living together in one home struggle with this issue for sure, but divorced or single parents have even more to contend with in trying to create consistency between both homes.
The truest way to parent in the age of technology is to create consistent “screen time” rules and boundaries. Doing so prevents having one parent who has rules and the other that does not which prevents the “tough parent” and the “fun parent”. Some of the helpful approaches parents can use as a starting point are:
- Parental Controls.
Phones and tablets have parental controls that allow parents to restrict apps and allows the device to be turned off by a parent.
- Set Time Limits.
Having an established and consistent time limit each day that is enforced in each parent’s home can be useful.
- Real Time Monitoring.
Some parents choose to allow their children to use technology so long as the children use a device in the living room rather than the children using a device alone in their bedroom. Parents may want to consider the children providing them with their user name and passwords to the apps or social media websites so they know what sort of information and pictures they are sharing.
- Reward for Good Behavior.
This old-fashioned concept is one parents may want to use to reward children for completing daily or weekly chores, doing well on a test or behaving well in school with lifting a restriction of “screen time”.
Handling technology at home is just one of the issues parents who are no longer living together have to face. Finding a way for parents to consistently police how their children use technology, even if both parents feel differently about its appropriateness, is going to help reduce some stress for parents and children alike.
Contact experienced family law attorney Jessica L. Sterle at (218) 722-2655 to schedule a consultation to discuss custody or parenting time issues.