With another school year comes the opportunity for your child to see what new electronics their friends and classmates got over the summer and how they compare to their own. Maybe you’re also thinking it’s time to invest in a laptop for your child – or give them one of yours.
Children’s access to electronics. the internet and streaming services can be a divisive issue even for happily married parents. For divorced couples parenting across two households, it can be the source of serious conflict.
From deciding when your child is old enough for their first phone and what apps can be on it to what video games they can play, parents are constantly reevaluating what role technology and the myriad entertainment options available through that technology should play in their children’s lives. That’s why many co-parents are incorporating technology management provisions in their parenting plans.
Developing a technology management plan for your child
As you do this, it’s probably best to start with the things you agree it’s acceptable for your child to have – or not have. The more consistent the rules are in both homes, the better off kids typically are.
It’s also important to name your “deal breakers,” like not allowing violent video games or putting parental controls on your streaming services. This is where you may have to negotiate and give in on something not as important in order to get their buy-in.
Don’t expect to have complete consistency across homes
Likely, one of you is less strict than the other when it comes to these questions. You don’t have to agree on everything – and you likely won’t. As long as you’re consistent in enforcing your rules in your home, that’s what’s important. Unless your co-parent is doing something that is harmful to your child’s well-being – like letting them play “Adults Only” rated video games or spending time on the “Dark Web” – a court likely isn’t going to step in.
You may not want to make your technology provisions too detailed, since what’s right for your child will change as they get older. Further, there may be electronics available in a couple of years that no one’s heard of today. However, including something in your parenting plan can at least let you both set some expectations for your child and each other.