Monday, March 20, 2006
As the legal system begins to acknowledge the potential benefits of technology in bridging the physical and emotional distance caused by divorce and separation, more families are experimenting with computer-assisted custody sharing.Though most people in the article talk about the good things for parents who have already moved away - a webcam session is more satisfying than a phone call - there are also arguments made that allowing parents to visit their children virtually will encourage parents to move away, because it relieves them of the responsbility to be around.
Although any separating couple can opt for virtual visits in their custody agreement, debate surrounding the issue is unfolding on the state level as advocates push to have the option spelled out in state laws in order to broaden awareness of the practice and enable judges to grant such visits where they see fit.
"The danger is that it will become a substitute for real time," said David L. Levy, chief executive of the Children's Rights Council, based in Hyattsville, Md., which advocates for children affected by divorce and separation. "Virtual time is not real time. You can't virtually hug your child or walk your child to school. We don't want this to be seen as an excuse to encourage move-aways."Which raises the question: how closely can technology approximate "real time" contact, and how closely does it need to in order to provide the kind of interaction that young children need with their parents? This isn't so much linguistic in nature, but issues like nonverbal cues, technological aspects of online conversation - delayed response, for instance - would be important if you really wanted to figure this out.
The Utah and Wisconsin regulations specify that virtual visits should be used as a supplement to, not a substitute for, traditional visits. The Wisconsin bill also specifies that virtual visits should not be used to justify a custodial parent's relocation. The laws define "electronic communication" as contact by video conference, e-mail, instant message, telephone or other wired or wireless technology.
"I think that most judges understand that children require physical one-on-one contact with the absent parent," said Cheryl Lynn Hepfer, president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.
Anyway, I just thought it was another interesting and important real-world issue that makes our interests relevant. This message brought to you by the Committee to Make Academics Matter (CMAM).
Monday, March 13, 2006
Friday, March 10, 2006
a tiny thread on synchronicity.
that's it, really. adopt my jargon now.