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Post-Divorce Advice: How to Protect Your Children on the Internet

The family law attorneys at Protokowicz & Rodier detail various methods of protecting your children on the web after a spousal separation.

hispanicwmnoncomputerAfter official divorce proceedings have concluded, you and your ex-spouse will need to become accustomed to a new co-parenting routine. If your children are old enough to use the internet, they will likely be online regularly throughout this turbulent time. In the age of ubiquitous digital technology, it has become paramount that newly separated parents remain mindful in monitoring their children’s online activity in order to ensure their safety.

Specifically, in the time after their parents’ divorce children may search the internet for entertainment, solace and interaction. No matter your child’s age, there are several precautions you can take that will guarantee a safer online experience for him or her. Enacting certain in-home internet access and use policies will also ensure that particularly younger children are kept safe.

Accept what you cannot change. Your child may access the internet in your absence. Accepting that as fact will help you to begin building a strategy for safe internet use whether or not you are available to monitor your children.  Establishing policies for in-house internet use will assist you in the process of putting safety measures into place that your child will accept and follow. Putting regulations into place will also increase the likelihood that your child will follow your protocols outside of your home. Your child may even surprise you by coming to appreciate your limits.

Practice what you preach. Modeling the behaviors and values that you wish to see in your children is an excellent method of teaching safe internet practices. Consider putting a technology schedule in place that requires devices to be put away or turned off at certain times, such as during family meals and special occasions. In contrast, if you are consistently attached to your phone, your child will be less likely to obey your technology limits.

Consider a co-parenting collaboration. Consistency is crucial to the implementation of a safe internet strategy. Therefore, consider working with your ex-spouse to create a standard set of safe internet use practices. These practices can then be enforced in both houses to increase the cohesiveness of his or her home life.

If you are hesitant about approaching your ex regarding the implementation of safe online practices, consider an email proposal rather than an in-person conversation. Sending an email will allow you the chance to lay out your case and share articles on the topic without interruption. If you do not have a comfortable relationship with your ex-spouse, this method may not be a viable option.

Even if your ex is unwilling to collaborate on a universal co-parenting internet solution, keep in mind that you still maintain control of the rules and regulations your child must obey while he or she is in your care. Be transparent about the reason you have put internet use policies in place – it will only increase the chances that your child will come to understand and respect your restrictions.

The rules you establish do not need to be permanent or inflexible. As your child matures, consider re-evaluating your policies and making them less strict if you feel you can trust your child to remain careful online. As this happens, be sure to explain your reasoning for easing your restrictions. Once they are adults, the safe online practices that you helped to cultivate will continue to influence them positively.

For more information about divorce, separation, and child custody, call the family law attorneys at Protokowicz & Rodier today.