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Technology use in blended families

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
I am curious to see how people handle things like children's access to the internet when the child has multiple houses. Different rules for different houses? Parents reach a consensus? Are people putting this sort of thing in parenting agreements these days?

We had a situation last week, where I was toodling around on facebook and suddenly received a friend request from 8 yo DSD. We have a week on/week off situation, and she was at her mom's last week. On one hand, she is too young (I believe facebook rules say that you have to be 13). OTOH, I know that a few of the girls in my Girl Scout troop are on it (they are her age). I mentioned it to DH, who was irritated - he was very adamant that she does not need a facebook profile. He was also annoyed that DSD's mom would allow this to happen without discussing it with him first as he felt that internet presence is something that should be discussed between parents.

He called DSD's mom, and it turned out that her sister helped her make the page for fun, but DSD's mom was not planning on allowing her to keep it, so everything worked out just fine. The page is now gone.

I do wonder what would have happened had DSD's mom disagreed with DH. My guess is that he would have contacted facebook and had them take it down. It seems like we very likely will have other issues like this pop up sooner rather than later - hopefully everyone agrees, but what if they do not? Technology these days opens up a whole new set of questions (facebook, email, cell phones, smart phones) - how do people answer these, especially when the parents do not agree)?
post #2 of 3
We have, historically, functioned in a way that each house makes their own rules. She watches movies at Mom's house that she can't watch here, she has her own iPod Touch at mom's that she keeps there. She has an email account that both parents have the password for, but each parent would make their own rules about how and when she would have access to that.

We haven't really gotten to the point of things that have to be a joint decision. Most things each parent would be able to make their own rules abut access to technology-- like if she brought her iPod here, we wold set the rules about when she could listen and what songs were appropriate here.

I think, in general, if there are things that we've come up against that have to be a joint decision by their nature (immunizations and ear piercing come to mind), we default to the decision of the more restrictive parent (ie no ear piercing until both parents can agree to it). We haven't bumped into that one yet, though, as far as use of technology... interesting to think about though!
post #3 of 3
My ex and I get along pretty well...and perhaps one of the reasons is that we each set the rules in our own homes. He's definitely more permissive than I am about violent video games and R-rated movies. And I really try to remind myself that:
* I can't control everything.
* I can't shield them from the knowledge that other people have different standards than I do.
* The damage, if I were to bad-mouth their Dad and his choices - or if he and I were to fight over every little thing - would be deeper than the damage from watching the occasional movie or playing the occasional video game that I think is trashy or too violent.
* It's normal for kids to feel excited about getting to do things a "strict" parent usually forbids. But in adulthood, they might discover a greater appreciation for the standards they learned from me.

So, I try my best to limit how often I say no. And my ex reciprocates, by respecting it, when I DO. So, there's no Grand Theft Auto, no "Saw" or "Hostel" - at EITHER parent's house - and if one of us sees fit to ground a kid from the computer, or from Facebook (which happens), he's grounded from it at both houses.

I think family courts are already overwhelmed, without mediating technology issues. They can be handled like any other legal custody issue: When both parties are fair and reasonable enough with each other, to be able to make joint decisions about their child, they can have joint legal custody. When that's not the case, either they will fight enough that the court will give one of them sole legal custody; or the primary physical custodian will wind up functioning as though (s)he has sole legal custody - and only one parent will make decisions (like allowing or forbidding a FB account)... BUT that parent STILL will not be able to control everything at the other parent's house.
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