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Mobile Multitasking: How This Affects Children After a Divorce

While smartphones and laptops open whole new avenues of communication, research shows that this may not provide kids the communication that they need. This summer, researchers at the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign found that after a divorce, children three to five years old are more prone to create relationships that are fragile. Research from Arizona State University has also found that when one parent moves more than an hour away from the child after divorce, the child's risk for developing psychological conditions spikes up considerably. In any divorce, children can have as much as two to four times the risk of developing other psychological issues that result in behavioral problems, such as substance abuse. An Arizona State University researcher also said that the amount of time spent with one's kids after a divorce does not matter so much as the quality of the time spent.

Sometimes, mobile devices can help with this separation, especially as innovations like Skype and Facetime allow a child to actually see the parent. Sometimes, however, technology can create more problems than it solves. For example, a 2013 study by Nokia found that people grab their smartphones about every six and half minutes. This comes out to about 150 times per day. This speaks of people having their attention divided, often doing what is called multitasking, which makes a conversation only one of a few plates that are spinning at once.

The director of Communication between Humans and Interactive Media Lab at Stanford University has been studying how multitasking affects various areas of life. The doctor has commented on the problems of distraction that stem from this multitasking, and how they are especially problematic when it comes to parents and children communicating. "[Kids] don't learn the skills of understanding emotions if someone is multitasking and not paying attention."

More than suffering from distraction, a mobile conversation can also be reducing the vital communication between a child and a parent to a small screen, instead of having in-person interaction. Having personally experienced what life after divorce looks like for a child, but before current technology was available, one woman said that "communication now lacks authenticity", speaking of communication through mobile devices. She expressed gratitude for the personal time she spent with each of her parents, such as summer hikes with her father, walks in San Francisco with her mom, all phone-free.

Divorce has its hurdles for every family. In order to successfully move on in life, communication is essential. Planning the next steps in life will require a great deal of thoughtfulness, healthy communication, and sterling legal counsel. To learn about preparing for the next chapter in life, consult a Long Island divorce lawyer at the Meyers Law Group, P.C. We have the experience and dedication to help you make the right choices for your family's future.