There are myriad tools available today for parents and children to stay connected, from old-fashioned phone calls — although my 16-year-old swears teens use cellphones only to text and use other apps, NOT to make phone calls — to texting, Facebook-ing and even tweeting.
Tech-savvy kids have forced their parents to get up to speed on technology, including using another popular tool, Skype, a free VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) program that allows users to communicate by voice, video and instant messaging over the Internet. My hubby, kids and I use Skype to stay in touch with my sister and family who moved overseas earlier this year and with our in-laws in Canada and India. You can download the software on your computer or mobile device (see skype.com for details).
Modern families can use Skype as an alternative tool to stay connected to parents, siblings, grandparents or other family members who live out of town but would like to reach out and “see” the faces of their loved ones. Teens away at college or kids away at sleepover camp (if the facility allows it) no longer have an excuse to avoid mom or dad. Skype can especially be a handy tool for families separated by divorce. Recent media reports have claimed that Tom Cruise chats with daughter Suri on Skype as part of the divorce settlement with Katie Holmes.
“Research has shown that children of separated parents fare far better when their parents stay involved and in close communication with them. Any tool, such as Skype, that helps in that endeavor, is a good thing,” says Ada L. Hasloecher, mediator and center founder of Divorce and Family Mediation Center, LLC, in Melville.