Being a divorced dad comes with its own baggage. By itself, the term means that, at some point, the family dynamic was turned upside down. Whether you are a weekend dad or the sole caregiver, technology can be your biggest enemy or your greatest ally.
As the parent, you need to model the behaviors that you want your children to mimic, and this includes positive technology use.
Addiction and Technology
Divorce is a huge change for any family. With divorce comes a grieving process for both the children and the parents. Just because you initiated the divorce does not mean that you will not have your moments of sadness. To bypass these moments, some turn to addictive behavior. Some may turn to alcohol or drugs, but technology may be a more subtle addiction.
In our technological society, this form of addiction is on the rise. According to the National Institute of Mental Heath, nearly 7 percent of adults and 11 percent of adolescents experience some form of depression, and the web makes for a comfortable place to lose yourself.
Look for signs of online addiction in yourself and your children. If you cannot go a day without surfing the web, then you may have a problem. If your children cannot interact with you in real life, then you may want to seek the help of a mental health professional.
Tech as a Coping Device
Although technology can be addictive, it can also be a strong mediator for coping with change. Facebook can be a great way for families and friends to keep in touch. Many people downplay how profound a Facebook relationship can be. Even more people may not believe that a social network friend is a true friend.
However, an article published in the Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking journal explains that Facebook friends are real friends and often give the perception of social support. This applies to both the child and the parent. If your child is over 13 and mature enough, encourage the use of social media to communicate feelings in a healthy manner.
Of course, teach your child how to have healthy and safe boundaries when posting messages on the internet. Model this behavior by having a good set of Facebook friends and use them as a resource for your mental health. Facebook friends can be there for more than finding great sports memes and humorous videos.