Many people in Illinois have raised concerns about how social media could affect childhood development, including worries that excessive screen time and online communication lead to cyberbullying or social problems. However, some research indicates that these forms of communication could have a strongly positive effect on children with divorced parents.

When a child no longer has as much contact with a parent after a divorce, it can be all too easy for emotional distance to set in. However, electronic communications can play an important role in nurturing a parent-child relationship even when people are physically distant from one another. Traditionally, research has indicated that one of the most important factors in how children deal with divorce is the relationship between the co-parents. One study indicated that even children with high conflict parents can maintain a close relationship through social media, texting, video calls and other online communication methods. While in-person contact was the most important for fostering a close parent-child relationship in one study, social media communication was a close second as long as it was direct and frequent.

In a study of 400 families, researchers found that different styles of co-parenting had far less of an impact on the relationship between parents and children than did the frequency of communication. If parents communicated once a month or less with their children, there was a far greater distance in the relationship than those who communicated more frequently. Researchers noted that many young people feel emotional bonds strongly over social media, so tools like Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat can be important for parent-child communication.

When parents decide to divorce, they may be concerned about how their children will be affected by their separation. A family law attorney may help a divorcing parent to reach a fair settlement on issues like child custody, visitation and support.