It may interest readers of this blog that North Carolina is one of just six states that allows for what is called "virtual visitation" in its child custody laws. With so many children of divorced, separated or unmarried parents across the country, it is not necessarily unusual for a child to have a parent who lives a long distance away or in another state entirely. Virtual visitation laws thus allow a parent to continue to have regular contact with their child without actually having to drive a great distance to see them.
According to the National Center for State Courts, there are about 18 million children nationwide whose parents have either separated or divorced. In addition to those 18 million, another 17 million have parents who never married. This means that a total of about 35 million children have parents who do not live together.
Unsurprisingly, many of these parents do not live in the same city; in fact, about 25 percent of these children have a parent who lives elsewhere. In the past, contact may have been limited to phone calls, letters and the occasional face-to-face visit. But just as technology has enabled greater interaction with friends and family scattered across the globe, it is also allowing for more and better communication between parent and child.
Some states, North Carolina included, have specified electronic or virtual visitation in their laws. During a child custody dispute, a parent may be awarded this right, and it may allow the parent to see their child via webcam for a certain amount of time each week. For children who have a parent who lives far away, it may well allow for greater bonding.
Source: Washington Times Communities, "Virtual visitation: a sensible child custody option," Myra Fleischer, April 15, 2012