How unsupervised screen time can impact parenting orders
The dangers of the internet for children have been well documented but did you know it could also impact the amount of time you’re allowed to spend with them? Failure to properly monitor your child’s screen time is something that can be taken into consideration by the courts.
In a recent case considered by the court, an 11-year-old girl lived with her mother and spent limited time with her father, as the couple had separated before the daughter was born.
The father, who had two children with his new wife, gave the daughter an iPad for her birthday. The child’s mother asked the father to use parental locks on the device and to properly supervise the daughter when she was using the iPad, which remained at his home.
The father did not put a lock on the iPad, nor did he supervise his daughter while she was using the device.
After spending time with her father during the school holidays, the daughter returned home and the mother was concerned about her behaviour, as she had become withdrawn and did not want to spend time with her father.
The mother found out her daughter had accessed pornographic material on the iPad while she was at her father’s home. The child told her mother she had seen material that included a photo of the father’s wife naked, as well as a video.
Seeing this material caused the child significant stress and shame, and she refused to speak to her father.
The daughter began counselling and a family report was also prepared for the court. The family report writer noted that the child had a warm and comfortable relationship with her siblings, and that the father was not a danger to the child, but there were concerns about risks that could arise from her father being inattentive.
The court ordered the father to ensure there were parental locks on all the computers and iPads during his contact time, that his mobile phone had a password lock, and that his daughter would be in the presence of a responsible adult at all times when she was using a computer or iPad, and that the adult had a clear view of the screen.
Provision was also made for the child to start spending limited time again with her father and half-siblings.
Failure to properly monitor a child can have a devastating effect on them, as well as impact the co-parenting arrangements. It’s an issue that should be taken seriously by all parents.
If you need help with parenting orders, please contact Michael Lynch Family Lawyers for advice.