Online Visitation Can Keep Ties Between Children and Parents Strong
Florida is one of several states that legally allows virtual visitation for non-custodial parents. Divorce is often very stressful for children as well as parents, so maintaining a connection is extra important because it helps alleviate the stress, and in doing so, it could make children less susceptible to depression and anxiety. It also helps reduce the fears, emotional trauma and uncertainty children feel about their own identities when their families break apart.
In fact, the Adverse Childhood Experiences study followed thousands of individuals in order to identify a relationship between childhood events, such as divorce or death of a parent and various stressors like abuse, neglect and health problems, and the effects they may have on adults in obesity, depression, alcoholism and related situations. More than 17,000 HMO members provided detailed information about their childhood experiences for the study. So far, 50 scientific papers and over 100 workshop and conference presentations have been made.
According to a 2009 report by the U.S. Census Bureau, there were 13.7 million single parents in the United States. Over 80 percent of custodial parents are mothers, and most of them are gainfully employed. Of course, this means many children probably don’t see either parent that much during the day because they are in school. Not interacting with either parent except for the moments between school and work could leave a child feeling consistently lonely and confused.
Electronic communication can help fill the void children feel when they are not able to be physically near one or both of their parents. Skype, texting, Facebook and Twitter are just some of the technologies available today that divorced families can use to maintain consistent communication. The benefit of video technology cannot be overstated; how can the significant experience of imprinting take place without being able to see a parent’s face? Children should be encouraged and allowed to communicate with either parent often and in as many ways as possible.
Given the current economic struggles for so many, it is not at all uncommon for single parents with children to move away in order to secure employment. This kind of upheaval can be further destabilizing for a child. In these cases, virtual visitation is a potential filler. It shouldn’t be used as a substitute for real interaction, but in the event there is distance between family members, using online communication can help provide families with a sense of togetherness and maintain bonds between parents and children.
However, this does not mean that parents should discuss any divorce or parenting issues on social networking pages. “I always remind my clients not to put anything out in the public domain that they would not want a judge to hear and consider,” said Zephyrhills divorce lawyer Marcie Baker.