NPR recently did an interesting piece about infants and toddlers and the increasing screen time they receive in our tech-driven world. Suffice to say, doctors, parenting specialists, and others in the know all universally agree: passive screen time (movies, shows, games, etc.) for children two years and younger has a negative impact on development and should be avoided.
An interesting side note to the story has some bearing on Family Court matters and problems we sometimes encounter in setting up appropriate visitation for a non-custodial parent of a child this age. Researchers found that active screen time, in which a child interacts with a live person on the screen, “can actually help babies learn.”
What does this mean for parents of a young child going through a divorce? It’s commonly accepted knowledge among lawyers, judges, and child experts in Family Court that children of this age benefit from frequent contact with both of their parents. Such frequent contact does not have to be lengthy, such as overnights or weekends; the child simply needs regular confirmation of their relationship with the other parent, so that their bond can maintained into the child’s pre-kindergarten years and beyond. Frequent contact isn’t always possible, for a variety of reasons: distance, disparate work schedules, inability of parents to be in one another’s presence. But there’s really no reason why a small child shouldn’t be able to see and interact with the non-custodial on a daily basis via Skype and Facetime, under any set of circumstances. The contact can take place at just about any time of day, for as long or short a time period as the child remains interested, and, as the NPR article references, such screen time between child and parent may be affirmatively beneficial for both.
It’s difficult to imagine a set of circumstances under which a Family Court judge would not find such frequent contact to be in the best interests of the child. If you are a non-custodial parent who has been struggling to maintain contact with your small child, contact us or another Charleston divorce lawyer to see if you might be able to increase your contact via Skype, Facetime, or some other technology.