Do you & your co-parent have consistent media rules for the kids?

More and more often, courts in Missouri are attempting to award joint child custody when it is possible and reasonable to do so. Even if former spouses have trouble getting along, it is often in the children’s best interest to maintain a relationship with both parents.

This, of course, can lead to some co-parenting headaches. In today’s post, we’d like to discuss one issue that you might face if you share custody with your ex. That issue is how to manage your children’s access to media and electronic devices consistently between both households.

It is generally important to have consistent rules, routines and schedules for your kids if they split their time between staying with you and staying with their other parent. This gives them a sense of continuity and stability, and it makes it easier for both parents to enforce the rules.

That being said, you may want to consider creating rules specifically related to use of electronic devices and access to media. Here are some questions to consider:

  • How much non-homework “screen time” should each child be allowed per day?
  • When should electronic devices and media access be off limits?
  • What types of television shows and movies (based on ratings, etc.) are the kids allowed to watch?
  • Should loss of media/device privileges at one parent’s house also apply to the other parent’s house?
  • Should parental controls and passwords be placed on internet browsers, phones and other devices that allow access to inappropriate content?
  • Are the children allowed to have their own social media accounts, and if so, do they understand rules of safe and appropriate conduct online?

These media and electronic device rules could potentially be spelled out in your parenting plan. But it may be easier (and allow for more flexibility) if you can reach a less formal agreement with your co-parent. If you have questions about this or any other custody related matter, please discuss them with a family law attorney.

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