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Divorce, social media and your children

Social media has become an important part of American life, but it can also be a problematic area for families going through a divorce. The last thing you want if you're in the middle of a custody battle is to have your -- or your child's -- social media activity become a problem. Here are some good guidelines to follow:

1. Don't allow children unsupervised access to social media.

If your children have social media accounts, make sure that you are on their friends list and able to monitor what is said on their pages. In addition, insist that your children keep you informed about password changes and let them know that you'll periodically spot check their conversations. Make it clear that your goal is to protect them from online predators and ensure their safety. Otherwise you could be accused of neglecting an important parenting duty.

2. Discuss age-appropriate content.

You may be okay with a swear word or two in your home, but that doesn't mean it's okay for your children to post vulgar or obscene posts online -- even in the name of humor. Similarly, you don't want your teenager posting "sexy selfies" online. Talk to your children about the limits of what they can post, and make it clear that violations will result in suspended privileges.

3. Don't post anything the judge -- or your kids -- shouldn't see.

Pause before each post and ask yourself if you would feel uncomfortable trying to explain it to the judge overseeing your custody case. If there's any doubt, don't post.

For example, you might not think much about a picture of your backyard barbecue, but that beer can in your hand could be an issue if your kids are around or your ex is alleging that you drink too much. Similarly, online rants about your child's other parent can come back to bite you -- especially if your children can see the posts. You don't want your ex to allege that the posts are causing an emotional rift with the kids.

Ultimately, you want to model good online behavior for your children and help them learn to live up to the standards you set. If you keep that in mind, you probably won't have to worry about social media hurting your custody case. For more information on this and other child custody concerns, talk to your family law attorney.

Source: The Our Family Wizard Blog, "Kids and Social Media: Three Tips for Parents," accessed July 28, 2017

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