The unfortunate reality of marriage is that nearly 50% of them end in divorce. When children are involved in a divorce, things will never be pretty. From visitation to holidays, school events to summer breaks, children will constantly be faced with either being told which parent is “on-duty” or asked to choose between parents. These normal growing pains of divorcees, with children, grow tremendously when one parent is forced or chooses to move away from the other parent or when the non-custodial parent is unable to physically visit with children for a variety of reasons. Long-distance visitation can be hard to accommodate and afford, and technology has come to the rescue. Virtual visitation offers a glance, but not a touch, into one solution to long-distance visitation.
Virtual visitation refers to the use of personal video conferencing, video calls, video chats, email, instant messaging, camera phones, video phones and other communication media to achieve a “visitation” schedule with your child, when in-person contact is not available. This form of visitation is not limited to parents separated from children by distance. Many parents who live within minutes of each other, choose virtual visitation as a means of supplementing the in-person visitation schedule.
Parents who are not divorced can also use virtual visitation to keep in contact with children while away on business trips. Using today’s technologies to increase the parent-child relationship, is as easy as Internet, webcam, talk!
For parents wondering how to set up a virtual visitation station, the setup is simple. For traveling parents, a laptop, hotel, with high speed Internet, and a webcam, with built in microphone, are all that is needed to begin the process. In some cases, special software can be used to make interaction more reliable, but is not necessarily needed in every case. For at-home virtual visitation, a desktop may be used in place of a laptop.
The values of virtual visitation are numerous for both divorced and traveling parents. Having constant access to your child both visually and audibly helps with conversation and interaction. Parents often have trouble keeping children’s attention during phone calls, and rarely are able to have a full conversation. Virtual visitation, on the other hand, is a fully interactive process that is fun for both parties.
While virtual visitation may be the only choice for some parents, there are drawbacks to the process. Virtual visitation can never be the same as physical contact. Children emotionally and physically need to be touched by those that love them the most. Parents who show physical affection for their children through hugs and simple connecting gestures, have better relationships with their parents. Virtual visitation will never be able to replace the one-on-one interaction needed to retain a good relationship with a child.
Virtual visitation is a fantastic way for divorced parents, as well as, traveling parents to keep in contact with their children. Virtual visitation, however, should not replace physical contact totally, whenever possible. The perfect combination of both physical and virtual worlds can be achieved with the help of all world technologies.