Divorce at Altitude: A Podcast on Colorado Family Law

Social Media and Co-Parenting with Ryan Kalamaya and Amy Goscha | Episode 89

March 03, 2022 Ryan Kalamaya & Amy Goscha Season 1 Episode 89
Divorce at Altitude: A Podcast on Colorado Family Law
Social Media and Co-Parenting with Ryan Kalamaya and Amy Goscha | Episode 89
Show Notes Transcript

According to surveys, around 90% of children aged 13-17 have used social media, and around 51% do so daily. Adults also use social media consistently—data shows that in 2018, 72% of US adults used at least one social media platform regularly.

Ryan and Amy discuss the pros, cons and relevant issues of social media and co-parenting. Below is an outline of their conversation. 

Parents' Use

Positives

  •  Enhanced communication
  • Gaming with kids
  • Accountability
  • Photo Sharing
  • Facetime with kids
  • Organizational tools like shared calendars

Negatives

  • Exposure/oversharing/privacy
  • Opportunity for proxy wars
  • New relationships

Things to Consider in Parenting Plan

  • Posting pictures of kids?
  •  How will you handle social media regarding your children? For example, can you both make Facebook posts with your children in them? If so, what are the boundaries? Having these sorts of conversations can be uncomfortable, but it's necessary to make sure no boundaries are crossed.
  • How will you and your co-parent handle social media regarding each other? For example, can you make posts about each other? Can you communicate with one another using social media? If so, what are the guidelines? Is there a curfew for when you can communicate with one another? Answering these questions can help you have a more amicable co-parenting relationship.
  • Updates on new relationships
  • Kids following parents

Suggested Terms Re: The Parents' Social Media

  • "Parents shall not make disparaging statements about the other parent or a child on social media/networking sites to which the child may have access."
  • "Neither parent shall post nude or otherwise inappropriate photos of the child on an social media/networking site."

 Kids' Use

  • Do they have accounts or not?
  • Establishing rules of what is appropriate to post
  • Privacy settings
  • Time limitations for kids
    • You and your co-parent should set the same boundaries for how much time your child can spend on social media so that you don't end up in a "good cop, bad cop" situation where your child has a different experience at each parent's house.
  • How will you adjust guidelines over time? As your child changes and your relationship with your co-parent evolves, you'll want to change how you handle social media.

Suggested Terms Re: The Child's Social Media

  • "Neither parent shall establish a social media/networking account (i.e. Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Snapchat) for a child, or allow the child to do so, without the written consent of the other parent."
  • "Both parents shall have access to any social media/networking account belonging to the child to include users names and passwords."
  • "Both parents shall have access to a child's electronics (i.e. laptop, i-pod, cell phone) to include username and password."
  • "Both parents shall have access to a child's personal email account, to include username and password."

Ryan Kalamaya (3s):
Hey everyone. I'm Ryan Kalamaya

Amy Goscha (6s):
And Amy Goscha

Ryan Kalamaya (8s):
Welcome to Divorce at Altitude. A podcast on Colorado family law

Amy Goscha (13s):
Divorce is not easy. It really sucks. Trust me. I know besides being an experienced divorce attorney, I'm also a divorce client.

Ryan Kalamaya (21s):
You are someone considering divorce or a fellow family law attorney listening for weekly tips and insight into topics related to divorce co parenting and separation in Colorado. Hey Amy.

Amy Goscha (38s):
Hey Ryan, how are you?

Ryan Kalamaya (40s):
Good. Welcome back to another episode of Divorce at Altitude.

Amy Goscha (44s):
And today you're going to be speaking on social media, which is always an interesting topic, isn't it?

Ryan Kalamaya (49s):
Yeah. At the time of this recording, we just got results back from the metaverse or the company Metta, which is the new term or a name I should say on Facebook. So it's, we've heard a lot in the news. Everyone does, but we're going to talk about social media and how it can matter or impact co-parenting and things that parents should keep in mind in family law when they're going through a divorce. And they're thinking about social media and how they can handle it

Amy Goscha (1m 19s):
Just in general. I mean, social media is a huge thing and it's trending, especially with kids. Can you explain what are the stats right now for children using social media?

Ryan Kalamaya (1m 28s):
Well, there's stats all over the place about social media, but at least according to one survey, 90% of children aged 13 to 17 have used social media. And then when you look at 51% do so daily, that can really matter. It's something, as you know, I know with hunter, with your son, we're a little bit too young, our kids, I mean, my kids are five and seven right now and they're not getting into it. You know, they love kind of YouTube for kids and they watch art hub for kids, but when they get older, it starts getting tricky. So when you combine that with adults using social media, and we'll talk about the difference between the parents using social media and the children, but I mean, in 2018, 72% of us adults had at least used one social media platform a regularly.

Amy Goscha (2m 20s):
Yeah. And that's probably gone up since then, for sure. Well, let's start with that. Like the parents' views, like what are you seeing out there with parent usage and issues related to family law cases?

Ryan Kalamaya (2m 30s):
Well, I think the, if you boil down The Parents, his use of social media, when they're going in through a divorce, there's some pros and some cons. So the positives are that theoretically you could have an enhanced communication. And when we talk about social media, if we cast a really wide net, we could kind of lump in various co-parenting applications, such as our family wizard or civil communication. That's not necessarily social media, but it's kind of a tech ability or tech platform, but there is this enhanced communication. And one rationale for social media is that it reduces the friction between, or for communication just in general.

Ryan Kalamaya (3m 10s):
So I can communicate with some of my college friends from Virginia, much easier on social media. And there's that pro the other is that you could have gaming or communication with the children. So you could communicate with the children on their level. You could have some game where you are playing online, a video game and they could be at another housemate. There's obviously some potential wrinkles or complications with that, that we can get into where, you know, if we go to Eric and Melanie's hypothetical divorce, if Eric's constantly playing video games with the son during Melanie's time, that that can be an issue, but that is just one potential positive.

Ryan Kalamaya (3m 50s):
You have accountability or the ability for a child to check in, for example, Facebook or other platforms allow a child to check in. And that might be easier. And for a parent in when they don't have the child custody or the possession of that child, that might make it easier to really have accountability and you can track where the children are, then you get into photo sharing. I mean, that's one of the most common things where you can share photos with a family and including the other parent with Social Media. It's one of the most common things. I mean, I can tell you, my parents love seeing pictures of my kids, but then we'll get into that might be too much information on the negative side.

Ryan Kalamaya (4m 34s):
But when you get into FaceTime with kids, I mean, that's, again, one of those communication issues, it's the platform, but it's a high tech, a new issue that we have where people can communicate. It's not necessarily social media, but it's worth mentioning. And then we also get into the shared calendars, other things, again, a platform that really is a pro or allows parents to communicate maybe better at least get on the same page, which ultimately benefits the kids.

Amy Goscha (5m 2s):
The comments I have is, and this just happened in one of my cases like the dad likes to game with his kid. And so just the timing on that is an issue. And then the parents will, who's not exercising. Parenting time will be on FaceTime with the child, helping them with homework. So there is a way to kind of get the parent. Who's not, they're involved with homework, but also, you know, it can be an issue on timing.

Ryan Kalamaya (5m 24s):
Yeah. And it's, I think it's just one thing that people need to think about the pros and the cons. And we'll talk about the cons next, but there's the parent use of social media and people just need to think about, are we on the same page? So

Amy Goscha (5m 36s):
What are some of the negatives that you are

Ryan Kalamaya (5m 38s):
Seeing? Well, I think anyone that's used social media can relate to some of the downsides and that is there could be overexposure or oversharing. I mean, everyone, Amy has that friend on Facebook or Instagram or whatever, where it's like every single event in their life, whether it be, you know, I just cooked dinner. That is just too much. When you throw a divorce on it, we've had various guests who have talked about the emotional aspects of divorce. And when you can propagate that to everyone, there can be some real downsides, but you can also have an opportunity for a proxy war. So someone that uses a parent uses a social media to show, you know, the various dinners or things, cool things that they got their kids, and they can use it as a proxy war.

Ryan Kalamaya (6m 29s):
They can also shut down accounts or really try to alien another parent by virtue of the social media. So there can really creates kind of a new battleground and sometimes it can be pretty petty as you and I have have seen. So it just allows the opportunity as much as it reduces the friction on communication. It also reduces the friction in terms of creating new problems. And then obviously you've got new relationships. If Eric starts dating some new woman and then starts posting it on social media. Yeah. He might be happy. And you and I have talked about in the past about those other relationships, but if Eric and Melanie are going through a divorce and Melanie sees pictures of this new, younger, thinner woman that can really create some drama.

Ryan Kalamaya (7m 19s):
And then when you have kids following the parents that also can really magnify all of those negatives, if a child is following a parent. So those are the, just a couple of the negatives. This episode is brought to you by our law firm. Kalamaya negotia Amy. And I describe our law firm as an innovative and ambitious trial team that pushes the boundaries to discover a new frontier is and family law, personal injuries in criminal defense in Colorado. We currently have offices in Aspen, Glenwood Springs, Edwards, Denver, and Boulder. If you want to find out more, visit our website, Kalamaya dot law.

Ryan Kalamaya (8m 1s):
Now back to the show.

Amy Goscha (8m 3s):
Yeah. I think what I was also thinking about is social media has created a lot of privacy issues as well. You know, like who owns the photos on the family, iCloud, who has access to the kids have access. You know, I had a case where the son was looking on his iPad and then dad's girlfriend photos of her popped up on his iPad, you know? So it was just all those types of issues. So it gets complicated. So what are some things, you know, when you're actually looking at fashioning a parenting plan and thinking about social media, what are some things that you would consider in the parenting plan

Ryan Kalamaya (8m 38s):
As a divorce lawyer? If Eric Wolf, our hypothetical client comes into my office and says, listen, I've got kids. And I explained to him a parenting plan. One of the things that I think would be helpful is if Eric thought about and discuss with Melanie, what are we going to do about pictures of our kids, some children, or some parents rather, they feel fully comfortable sharing pictures of their children on social media and other parents have a totally different tack. And so making sure that you're on the same page with posting pictures, can you both make posts on the same picture? It's a graduation. How do you communicate about using social media and especially with the pictures in that the children than the content.

Ryan Kalamaya (9m 25s):
And so those are, that's one thing that I would certainly talk about is the photo sharing, but then also how do Eric and Melanie handle social media between themselves? Do they unfollow each other? Do they, you know, do they have various protocol? Do they post about each other? I mean, I think one thing I've seen, you know, Tom Brady was heralded. He just recently retired and a lot of people have held him up as, you know, a good co-parent with Bridgette Monaghan is who he has a child with. And, you know, he's super active on social media. And I recall that there was a post that he made where he looped her in and included her. And how you communicate with each other. Do you just ignore each other? How does that communication on social media occurred?

Ryan Kalamaya (10m 8s):
And there might be a curfew where you agree not to post social media or not to communicate with the other party because there might be drinking or there might be just one of those issues where people are more likely to kind of lose their cool I'm after a particular time. So it's just something that I think people need to think about. And then the other aspect is the new relationship. Do you hold off? I mean, one thing any we do in parenting plans is address. When is it appropriate to introduce the children to a new relationship, a boyfriend and girlfriend, and you could also, you know, theoretically have a band or, or not necessarily a band, but an understanding of when is it appropriate to post pictures of social media?

Ryan Kalamaya (10m 49s):
Because again, if Johnny is following Eric on Instagram and he sees pictures of Eric with his new girlfriend, that's, you might have an agreement in the parenting plan about that. So there's some Suggested Terms for parents, his use of social media and make a agreement that they won't disparage the other on social media or refer to the parent in social media posts. There could also be an agreement that Neither parent shall post nude or otherwise inappropriate photos of the child or any pictures of the child on social media. So it runs the gamut when it comes to parents as use on social media.

Amy Goscha (11m 27s):
Yeah. And I think, you know, as a parent, it's always good to remember that kids experience things at a different rate and they process things. So having these types of provisions in the plan and being on the same page really helps the kids. Well, let's move on to kids as use, you know, what are, what are some of the things that you see in your cases regarding children and using social media?

Ryan Kalamaya (11m 49s):
Yeah. Well, when we go back to the statistics that we talked about very beginning of this episode, when you get into those teenage years, you are now confronting the reality of children using social media. So I think a parenting plan or parents should be on the same page as to when is it appropriate, if at all, for a child to have a social media account and these social media platforms, Facebook, Instagram, they can have different kinds of accounts. I know, you know, I already referenced it YouTube. They have at YouTube for children. And so they can have different kinds of accounts and there might be an appropriate platform for a child versus another take talk, you know, as a very common social video sharing social media platform for children and there's new ones that crop up every day.

Ryan Kalamaya (12m 39s):
So we need to have a good understanding as family law lawyers about these social media platforms, but the parents really need to talk to each other about when is it appropriate for a child to have an account? And if so, which kind of account

Amy Goscha (12m 55s):
Exactly. So what are some suggestions regarding, you know, provisions in a parenting plan?

Ryan Kalamaya (13m 0s):
Well, there's a different aspect that parents should consider. So one is Neither parent shall establish a social media and networking account for a child or allow the child to do so without the written consent of the other parent, you could also have a provision that says that both parties shall have access to the social media account, belonging to the child. And that is to make sure that there's nothing inappropriate, but then you could have in a parenting plan, Both parents shall have access to the child's electronics. So that would be their laptop, their iPod there, no one really has iPods anymore. I guess children do, but cell phones and including the username and password, but you could have an agreement that Both parents shall have access to a child S personal email account.

Ryan Kalamaya (13m 44s):
And it really gets into making sure a child is safe because we hear these stories and there is the child exploitation issue that you have to address, but some people can really get up in arms and rightfully so, but they have to talk about the privacy settings on those social media accounts. And there's different features that they can be addressing. And the final one is that you can have an agreement on the time limitation. So that one parent isn't that cool parent, or they seem to be the cool parent that lets the kids just hang out on social media all the time. And that makes the other parent who's a little bit more restrictive, be the kind of bad parent.

Ryan Kalamaya (14m 24s):
You don't want to set that up. And so really having good boundaries, parents are going to disagree on, you know, various issues, but that is something that I think at least they can get in sync on so that it doesn't make one parent out to be the bad guy.

Amy Goscha (14m 41s):
Yeah. And I can also, I mean, I think it's parents need to know there can be severe repercussions for not being on the same page. Like for instance, if you have a 16 year old and you're not on the same page as to cell phone usage and social media usage, the kid could start kind of pitting the parents against each other and could want to spend a lot more time at the house where there's no rules, you know, which isn't good and just creates a lot of columns.

Ryan Kalamaya (15m 5s):
Indeed. And I think when you get into that 12, 13, 14 year old age range, it's one of those things. But I mean, I've seen certain circumstances where a child who wanted to be an actor or was really into drama, you know, they wanted to be on social media. If someone has a particular interest, whether it be sports, I can speak from experience. I mean, when I was a student athlete in high school in Colorado, I was out sending my videotapes. I mean, that kind of dates me, but it was the VHR of me playing baseball and I would send it out to various colleges and now it's a lot more nuance, but the social media can really be something that is a tool that is expected, whether it be drama or some sort of sports.

Ryan Kalamaya (15m 52s):
So there are those issues that really, we have to kind of think about because it's not just all social media is bad. You just got to deal with the reality that this is something that is part of our lives now, and is something that I think a lot of, especially family law lawyers that just aren't really tech savvy, they're just, they're gonna ignore. And I think it's a real disservice to their clients. So I think people can really think about these things and address them ahead of time, which reduces the conflicts.

Amy Goscha (16m 20s):
Yeah. And I think as a family lawyer, you do need to understand all those platforms because when you have serious situations where maybe someone has a personality disorder, you know, like they can use those social media platforms to their advantage and you got to know how to get that information.

Ryan Kalamaya (16m 36s):
Yeah. The final point Amy is we both know is that social media can be this treasure trove or an absolute disaster for a divorce when you have children. So, and or not children. So when someone is posting on social media, we've talked about this before, but it can really be used both good and bad for a divorce. And so if someone is posting stuff of social media, then that is something that can come into play. And I don't think people understand that. And then all of a sudden they can feel like they can change the setting or do something in it somehow that's not. But I mean, by the very definition it's social, right? So they're posting it for a reason.

Ryan Kalamaya (17m 16s):
And I think that a lot of people, they don't understand that when they're going through a divorce, so they kind of separated it out, but I've certainly used pictures on social media or various posts on social media to my client's advantage. And I know you've done the same,

Amy Goscha (17m 31s):
Right? Well, thank you Ryan, for talking to us about social media and giving us some tips on what to include in the parenting plan and any last words.

Ryan Kalamaya (17m 41s):
Well, I'll give you a like, cause we're recording this virtually Amy. So, and we'll be sharing this episode on our firm's social media platform. So, but for anyone else that has questions certainly reach out to us, but it's, ever-changing, I'm sure that this episode will be dated here momentarily just because it's a constant source of change in the world today. Great. Thank you everyone. This is Ryan again. Thank you for joining us on Divorce at Altitude. If you found our tips, insight or discussion, helpful, please tell a friend about this podcast for show notes, additional resources or links mentioned on today's episode.

Ryan Kalamaya (18m 22s):
Visit Divorce at Altitude dot com. Follow us on apple podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen in. Many of our episodes are also posted on YouTube. You can also find baby and me at Kalamaya dot LA or 9 7 8 3 1 5 2 3 6 5 that's K a L a M a Y a.law.