Coparenting in the digital era: Exploring divorced parents’ use of technology

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose - The current study was designed to examine how and why divorced parents use computers and the Internet for communication with their coparent and with their child(ren). Methodology/approach - The current study utilized the uses and gratification perspective. A subsample of 178 divorced parents with at least one child aged 25 or younger from a larger research project participated. Parents were recruited to participate in a 15-minute online survey through email listservs with a nationwide and demographically diverse reach. Findings - Analyses revealed that divorced parents are active users of technology, for communicating with their child(ren) as well as with the child(ren)‘s other parent. In addition, parents were comfortable using the Internet and accessing online parenting information, citing few barriers to use. Research limitations/implications - We did not capture the reasons for communicating or the content of communication. Future research should use innovative methodologies and measures to better understand the use of specific technologies and tools to negotiate boundaries between coparents living apart. In addition, a larger, more diverse sample might reveal different patterns of divorced parents’ technology use. Practical implications - Technology allows for asynchronous communication, staying up to date, making plans, and making decisions with minimal interaction, and thus maintaining boundaries. Our evidence suggests technology could help parents find areas of agreement around their children’s lives in a less contentious environment. Originality/value - This study provides the essential groundwork for further examination of ways to support coparent communication via technology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)279-298
Number of pages20
JournalContemporary Perspectives in Family Research
Volume10
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016

Keywords

  • Coparenting
  • Divorce
  • Internet
  • Parenting
  • Technology

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