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Blog Post 20th May 2020



Webinar online video Family Mediation 11th May 2020


I enjoyed chairing a panel of distinguished mediators in discussing the process of online video family mediation.

For most people this means video meetings which use either Zoom, skype or teams.

Generally, those who use this find it great to encourage discssion ,share documents on screen and focus minds. Experts such as financial advisors and accountants can dial in to the meeting, so they do not have to be paid to travel.

Lawyers can also be involved and use separate rooms (in zoom)

It is generally felt that the meetings are quite intense, staring at a screen, and so meetings can be shorter or with plenty of breaks. Downsides can be not having enough bandwidth for both devices to be used in one household or concerns about safeguarding which mean that mediating remotely is not suitable.

Being able to do online mediation hopefully improves inclusivity for this process..

For example for those with young children or other home commitments , those with a disability or those living abroad or – as now – when families are compelled to say at home – 

We had 162 attendees for the webinar and a lively discussion.


















Blog post 7th May 2020


Our Family Wizard 

A potentially useful tool for shared parenting.


OurFamilyWizard. App


James Evans gave an interesting presentation on 7th May 2020.


The idea is to make shared parenting communication  simplified.

  • Manage schedules,
  • Track expenses,
  • Share files,
  • Send secure messages
  • Securely store important child medical and other  information .
  • Grant access to experts working with your family, e.g. counsellor, parenting coordinator ,

This could be of even greater use for shared parenting during a crisis.

The link is here





27th April 2020

Nuffield Foundation Advice

Set out below is an article written by Clive Manning  the Nuffield Foundation regarding the use of digital technology in miantining parental or extended family contact via technology. Hopefully this will be hlepful to find creative solutions. Here is the link if you wish to read the original.

7 questions to ask when using digital technology

to help maintainfamily contact -

27th Mar 2020

Social distancing throws up obvious challenges in ensuring ongoing face-to-face contact between children and their extended families. Digital technology can play a role in maintaining vital relationships— but before employing a new platform, practitioners should ask themselves some key questions to ensure the experience is safe, accessible and appropriate, and that it offers the best experience for each family.

What is the simplest way?

It may not provide the same richness as face-to-face or live video chat but conference calling by phone offers a relatively quick, simple and inclusive way of maintaining family contact.

Various conference calling services are available. Calls to some, such as whypay? are included in bundled minutes deals from landlines and mobile phones (though each party would need to check this with their provider). WHYPAY? is currently also offering free moderation features and call recording for three months.

Using a conference calling system means that other participants don’t need to know each other’s numbers.

Is it age-appropriate?

In the UK, only children aged 13 or over are able to give their own consent to the online processing of their data. This means that most social media platforms—Facebook, Skype, Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram— have a minimum age requirement of 13. In the UK, WhatsApp users have to be 16 or over to use the service.

Who can contact who?

In WhatsApp chats, participants’ phone numbers are shared. On other platforms, such as Facebook Messenger, you have to register, and your username/profile is shared. Anyone with these IDs is able to make contact at any time, or share those details with others.

Many video services, for example Zoomand Whereby, now allow participants to join via a link without registering. This means that participants do not automatically share any contact details. However, it may be possible for those who have the link to share it and invite others into the same call.

What additional features are there?

Many platforms include additional features alongside video calls such as chat, live subtitles, screen sharing and recording. While these can be useful, sometimes they can prove difficult to moderate and manage safely. For example, in WhatsApp, users can share real-time location information.

Is the free version suitable?

Free-to-use services are likely to be paid for by advertising, or the sharing of customer data

 Paid-for services do not usually include advertising, and may allow better management of users and features that could help make contact safer. For example, Zoom Pro allows you to switch features on and off, and you can track what meetings are taking place across a whole organisation.

What’s in the background?

As call participants are likely to be in their own homes, it is important to set some basic ground rules in order to manage background noise and views. Digital tools may also help. For example, Skype lets you blur the backgroundand Zoom allows you to change it completely.

What behaviours are you introducing?

Using digital to support contact has lots of advantages. However, it may be that you are introducing a new tool or encouraging behaviour that may have a risk in a different context. Live video chat may be safely managed during organised contact for example—but it is helpful to remind children that is not the same for all video chats, and that these tools can be used for less good reasons, including exploitation.

It is also worth considering how digital contact will be sustained and integrated into wider organisational management systems and processes.

Parent Zone provides free resources, guides and ideas for professionals on supporting young people and all kinds of families in a connected world.

Other links

Digital Candle - One free hour of expert digital advice for charities

Internet Matters - What age can my child start social networking?

Learn My Way - A simple guide to using video calling

London CLC – Remote learning

NSPCC - Guide to social networks, apps and games

Parent Info - Help and advice for families in a digital world

Safer Internet Centre - Age restrictions on social media services

SWGfL - Safe remote learning for schools

Tes - Simplified terms and conditions for social media platforms


Author: Cliff Manning set up the digital youth participation network 




My first blog!

Child Arrangements affected by lock down

Apr 11, 2020

The owner of this blog did not allow comments.

Nuffield Centre advice

Our services in this area

Advantage Mediation offers family mediation and online family mediation to help work out arrangements for children. 

Do you have a question or want to make an appointment to discuss this area?

Give us a call on 07843069381 07843069381 or use our contact form.

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