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New Study Says Social Media and Texting Might Make Divorce Easier for Children


Divorce in Tampa is difficult on all parties involved, from the spouses to children from the marriage. Even when a couple makes the joint decision to get divorced, the process of dissolving a marriage has both financial and emotional repercussions. To be sure, even in situations where the parents agree to co-parent for the sake of their children, kids tend to have a difficult time coming to terms with the divorce, at least in the short term. According to a recent article in U.S. News & World Report, social media and texting—which often are cited as problems in various areas of life—actually may be able to help improve the divorce process for kids.

Benefits of Cyber-Communication During Divorce 

We often think about forms of cyber-communication as posing challenges in a divorce case. For example, electronic snooping can put one spouse in complicated position. In addition, using social media during a divorce process can result in another spouse appearing in posts or photos that run the risk of hurting that spouse in the divorce. We also tend to think about the problems associated with social media and cyber-communication when it comes to children. For example, social media has been tied to bullying and other forms of harm. Yet as the article underscores, “a new study reports a bright side to all that texting and social media—it keeps children connected to their parents after a divorce.”

Researchers at Kansas State University were interested in learning more about the benefits of social media and cyber-communication, especially with regard to younger kids. According to Mindy Markham, one of the co-authors of the recent study, it is extremely important for young children to maintain regular communication with their kids during and after the divorce. One of the easiest ways to keep up communication is through text messaging or through social media platforms like Facebook.

Understanding Different Types of Co-Parenting and the Impact of Text Communication 

In determining how electronic communication can impact a child’s relationship with his or her parent after a divorce, the researchers looked at almost 400 divorced parents with kids between the ages of 10-18 and classified their co-parenting into one of three categories:

  • Cooperative;
  • Moderately engaged; and
  • Conflicted.

Then, the researchers compared the co-parenting categories in relation to the type of parent-child relationship that existed, assessing those relationships with regard to three cited categories:

  • Parental warmth and closeness;
  • Parental knowledge of the child; and
  • Inconsistent discipline.

What they found was that, even in families where co-parenting fit into the “conflicted” category and the process of co-parenting was strained or problematic, the parent-child relationship was not significantly affected as long as the parent remained in strong communication with the child, and as long as the parents communicated with one another. And the communication method did not seem to make a difference. To be clear, even if parents never spoke to one another in person or over the telephone, simply texting with one another or sending other forms of electronic communication on a regular basis concerning their kids help to improve the parent-child relationship. In other words, texting can also help the parents.

In addition, any form of communication between the parent and the child, including through text messaging or Facebook messaging, for instance, resulted in a stronger parent-child relationship. Accordingly, the researchers recommended that divorce parents consider buying their kids a smartphone, tablet, or computer to enable this kind of communication.

Contact a Tampa Divorce Attorney 

If you have questions about divorce and parenting, you should speak with a Tampa divorce lawyer about your case. Contact Bubley & Bubley, P.A. today.




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