Woman nearly loses daughters because of online addiction

She got addicted to the Internet and could not wean herself off.

She even engaged in online activities of a sexual nature.

The married woman's addiction eventually cost her: She nearly lost access to her three young daughters and ended up fighting a long, drawn-out battle to get more access.

During divorce proceedings in 2012, her husband produced evidence of her online activities and sought custody of their daughters.

He alleged that her online activities were causing her to neglect the children, and she was a less suitable parent.

The district judge agreed, and granted him interim care and control of their girls.

The mother, in turn, was only allowed limited access to them.

For the next two years, the woman only saw her daughters on Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings from 5pm to 7.30pm and either Saturday or Sunday evenings.

Her girls had to return home after meeting her.

The woman's addiction to the Internet and engaging in online activities of a sexual nature is not unique. (See report on facing page.)

Details of the custody case were published in a High Court judgement earlier this month after the woman sought to gain greater access to her daughters.

The names of the couple have been redacted to protect the children's identity.

Chinese daily Lianhe Zaobao reported that the couple, who were married in 2000, are in their late 40s.

In her application, the woman told the court that she wanted to spend more time with her daughters - twins aged 13 and an 11-year-old - as they were growing older and needed maternal care.

It was not the first time she had made an application. Her previous attempt in April 2014 to spend more time with her daughters had been denied by the High Court. Then, she had submitted two psychiatric reports and applied for overnight and overseas access to the children.

Although the High Court judge denied her application, the mother was allowed to apply for a review at the Family Court in 2015.

In July 2015, she did and applied to the High Court for shared care and control of her children.

In the judgement, Judicial Commissioner Debbie Ong, who was presented with the mother's latest application on Sept 7 last year, noted that the children indicated they wished to spend more time with their mother.

The judge also noted that the mother had made attempts to change her circumstances.


First, she had found a comfortable home in a condominium, and the children enjoyed access to her new place.

She had also found stable employment and made good progress dealing with her addiction.

The Judicial Commissioner eventually did not grant care and control to the mother but allowed her more time with the girls.

She wrote in the judgement: "The children had expressed that they enjoyed their access time with the mother, and I found that the mother had made good use of the access time to bond with the children and to build a loving relationship with them."

She added: "I was of the view that it would be in the children's welfare for the father to continue to have care and control, and for the mother to be granted increased and overnight access to the children.

"This is so that the children can interact even more meaningfully with the mother, who undoubtedly adds a dimension of parenting which is invariably different from what the father can offer."