You have undoubtedly heard of Pokémon Go! by this point. It seems that nearly everyone from every corner of the globe is running around trying to virtually capture Pokémon creatures and engaging in duels with other players in virtual “gyms.” There are some pros to this new phenomenon; specifically the game is getting children outside and moving around. And, it encourages kids to go out and explore their neighborhoods and cities.
With that said, there are also some negatives. Pokémon Go! is highly addictive, especially for children. According to children’s technology researcher, Dr. Kristy Goodwin, “The game has a very strong addictive potential, which is my number one red flag. We’re seeing adults who have very quickly formed this digital dependency on playing the game. Children have a less developed brain architecture and are a lot more susceptible to its addictive potential.”
Given all this, you may be ready to see Pokémon Go become Pokémon Gone. But what about your ex? What happens if you don’t approve of your children playing Pokémon Go!, but your ex allows them to participate?
As with any disagreement with your ex, the best approach usually is the calmest approach, starting with sitting down and discussing with your child’s other parent what it is that is concerning you about the video games. Is your ex allowing your child to spend too much time playing video games? Is it the type of game with which you have an issue, such as a very violent game? Or, is the gaming affecting other areas of your child’s life, such as keeping him up too late or prohibiting him from doing his homework?
If you ex simply refuses to discuss the issue with you, you may have to seek court intervention if you feel as though your child is being harmed by the game in some way. Family court judges will always look to the best interests of the child when making assessments regarding child custody arrangements and the child’s well-being. If you can prove to the judge that your child is missing school, has failing grades or is having difficulty paying attention in school, then you may have a case to force your ex to not allow your child to play Pokémon Go! or any other type of video game.
You should be aware, however, that simply making moral determinations regarding video games may not get you far with the court. According to mrcustodycoach.com, spending the bulk of your time on “smaller issues” in an effort to portray your ex-partner in a negative light will almost always fail in court. Worse, it can project to the judge an image of you as being uncooperative and unwilling to foster a good relationship between the children and your ex-spouse, or even alienating.
“Unless there is a situation that poses a significant threat or some other danger to the children, entities such as family court, guardians ad litem, custody evaluators, etc. really don’t care about moral judgments cast upon your ex-partner.”
Pick your battles for the sake of your own peace of mind but also for the sake of your child. It helps no one if you are in a constant argument with your ex. But, if you do see that any activity that your ex is fostering is having significant negative impacts on your child, discuss these issues with a knowledgeable family law attorney who can advise you on how to proceed with an action in family court, if it is warranted.
If you need further advice regarding parenting time or any other family law issue, please contact us to schedule your initial consultation with one of our attorneys experienced in custody, parenting time and all other areas of family law in New Jersey.