Technology can be an effective tool for dividing parental responsibilities, and there’s no doubt that instant voice messaging technologies like Skype, Gmail Talk, and Facebook help parents in their new altered child custody and parenting arrangements. Unfortunately, the use of technology is increasingly featured in attempts by divorced couples to turn children against the other parent.
According to a survey that was conducted recently, many warring parents are now turning to technology to poison their children against the other parent. Such behavior is not uncommon when a divorce has ended on a hostile note. In spite of best efforts and mediations, many divorces do end with bitter feelings and rancor on both sides.
However, electronic communication devices, instant messaging, and social networking and media have made it easier for a parent to turn children against the other parent.
Researchers recently interviewed 49 divorced couples and parents. They were questioned specifically about the relationship that they had with their ex-partners, and the quality of those relationships. The researchers found, not surprisingly, that the parents who reported that they had very cooperative relationships with their ex-spouses, used technology frequently to smoothen out parenting arrangements. These parents frequently used online calendars in order to exchange information about their children’s activities, and keep the other parent in the loop.
Parents who remained hostile toward one another, however, used the same technology to limit their children’s access to the other parent. All kinds of technology was formed into weapons. Even basic email, which is a common aid for quick, unobtrusive communication between parents, became the source of many issues; some parents insisted that they never received e-mails that the other parent sent.