In an age where communication is increasingly done through instant messaging, email and social media, it is no surprise that child visitation may also be moving into the virtual realm. So-called virtual visitation is defined as any form of child visitation that makes use of an electronic medium such as a phone, email, webcam or social media site. A handful of states have enacted laws pertaining to virtual visitation, and courts in other states including California are beginning to take notice.
It is important to understand the potential benefits and drawbacks of virtual visitation. On the positive side, it creates a new level of flexibility for contact between a noncustodial parent and a child. If face-to-face communication is not possible due to schedule conflicts or distance, then virtual visitation may increase the frequency. It may also allow for more spontaneous, short-term communication such as reading the child a bedtime story or helping with homework. This broader range of possibilities is quite often in the child's best interest.