3 ways mobile technology can cause co-parenting conflicts

Parents who divorce or break up have to find a way to share responsibility for their children and divide time with them. It can be so difficult to navigate matters related to financial support and parenting time that people may overlook other issues. For example, there are many day-to-day decisions that parents have to cooperate with each other to address as they raise their children cooperatively. Parents manage everything from a child’s education to their healthcare. The decisions that parents make about their children can be the source of conflict as they attempt to co-parent.

Technology has created many new opportunities for divorcing parents. They can use an app to communicate with each other and phones to video chat with their children while they are at another house, for example. Unfortunately, technology also creates many opportunities for conflict as well. The following are some of the most common reasons that parents get into disputes over technology while co-parenting.

Disagreements about screen time and social media

All parents have to make difficult decisions about how much access their children have to technology. What is appropriate depends on factors including the child’s age. Some parents feel very strongly about limiting screen time until children reach a certain age. Others may want to keep their children off of certain types of social media. Parents may find themselves fighting about how much screen time each adult allows the children or what types of video games they play.

Disputes about intercepted communications

Digital devices like mobile phones and tablets allow parents to have a phone call or video conversation with their children while they are with the other parent. Unfortunately, not every adult is happy to facilitate communication between their children and their co-parent. Sometimes, one adult ends up feeling frustrated by repeated interruptions during their parenting time, while the other might feel alienated from the children because they go for days without talking to them. Parents who have clear rules about communication, especially when their children are too young to manage communication on their own, can stave off certain conflicts.

Disagreements about costs

As children mature, they may request their own devices so that they can communicate with friends. The devices themselves cost hundreds of dollars, and families have to accept ongoing financial costs for service for those devices as well. Parents may fight over who is responsible for paying those costs, particularly if one parent already makes regular child support payments. Families that address issues related to technological expenses ahead of time can meet their children’s needs without experiencing any unnecessary conflict.

Proactively addressing potential sources of parenting disputes may benefit those entering into a co-parenting arrangement who want to minimize the risk of future conflict.