Digital Abuse Legal Help

Protecting Families Against Co-Parental Digital Abuse Through Technology Awareness

In today's digital age, emerging technologies have become an integral part of everyday life for both children and parents. Devices like children's watches and home security apps offer enticing features such as discreet listening, video surveillance, and location tracking, promising enhanced security, connectivity, and convenience. 

However, beneath the surface of these seemingly beneficial advancements lies a troubling vulnerability: the potential exploitation of these technologies by abusive co-parents. In the hands of dangerous individuals, these seemingly convenient technologies can be misused to manipulate, monitor, and control their victims. 

While these technologies may appear advantageous, it is essential for parents to recognize the risks and take the necessary precautions to safeguard themselves and their children. Below, we delve into the safety measures that can be implemented to ensure the security and well-being of families in the digital age. Thank you to EndTab for providing us with these important updates to educate the public and ensure that victims and communities are aware of the digital measures they can take to protect themselves.  

Children’s Smart Watches:  

Much like smartphones, smartwatches allow parents to locate, monitor, and contact their children from anywhere. While accessible, smartwatches are also equipped with features like geofencing (getting alerts when the device leaves a location), location tracking, and location history. When used for good, they features can provide a sense of safety for parents, however, in the wrong hands, these features can be exploited by an abusive co-parent. Learn about how to mitigate these risks below:  

Learn the Device’s Features:  

Understanding the capabilities of our children’s technologies, particularly its tracking and monitoring features, helps empower parents to make informed decisions when their children are in their care. If you are worried about the capabilities of your child’s technology, we encourage you to research the device and model and take note of its features.  

Disable the Device: 

Parents may consider disabling the device or keeping it out of sight when their child is in their care. While this may help reduce or eliminate monitoring risk, it is essential to acknowledge the potential consequences of cutting off an abusive parent’s access to their victim and children.  

Co-parenting Technology Agreement:  

If possible and safe to do, addressing technology devices in co-parenting agreements can establish a mutual understanding and set boundaries, ensuring both parties agree that any devices for their child should be agreed upon and that both parties consent to the use of integrated tracking technologies.  

Home Security Apps 

Home security apps, often installed on children’s devices, provide real-time surveillance and access to historical recordings. While these apps can enhance safety, they can also be weaponized by an abusive co-parent to monitor another parent’s home without consent. Below are a few ways to mitigate the risk and help parents stay safe from unwanted access monitoring. 

Situationally Delete the App:  

Before visits with an abusive co-parent, victims may consider removing home security apps from their child’s device. This can help prevent unauthorized access to the other parent’s home and privacy when a child is not in their care.  

Confidential Login Credentials: 

Parents can prevent an abusive co-parent from having access to their home security apps by ensuring that their child does not know the login credentials for their home security apps. This may also help reduce the risk that an abusive co-parent accesses this information by coercing the information from children.  

Check Authorized Devices and Shared Users:  

Depending on the app, home security device owners can review the list of authorized users to their account or home security account. Victims can also check their account settings for any shared users who might be added without their consent or knowledge.  

Knowledge is Key 

In navigating the ever-evolving landscape of technology, it's natural to feel overwhelmed, especially if we don't consider ourselves tech experts. Knowledge is key and the best thing we can do is educate the public about these risks. By raising awareness and sharing this information, we can empower individuals to make informed decisions and protect themselves and their children from potential harm. 

The information provided above offers a few actionable steps to keep victims and their children safe from both unwanted and nonconsensual monitoring. As we continue to adapt to new devices and features, ongoing education and vigilance remain paramount in safeguarding digital against abuse and privacy violations. Together, we can work towards a safer digital future for all.  

Get In Touch

If you or someone you know is struggling with digital abuse and is in need of domestic violence legal aid, please be in touch with North Suburban Legal Aid Clinic at 847-737-4042 or email info@NSLegalAid.org. NSLAC also offers free legal aid in the areas of immigration and housing. Services are available regardless of immigration status. 

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