So, uh, I'm going to skip all the "divorcing women are evil bitches" stuff, and just discuss the online-vs.-Real-World stuff.
I don't think spending time with someone online comes even close to spending time with them face-to-face. There are two reasons I can think of for this.
1. You learn more about somebody by seeing their unintentional behavior.
Online, all the communication the other person receives is intentional: Everything you see/read about me is because I consciously intended to give off that info. If you read "Sera says, 'How have you been?'" that's because I typed you that line. Even in an interface that allows emotes, those still have to be consciously sent off: If you read "Sera scratches his head" that's still because I meant for you to see it.
If you compare the personality traits people give off consciously vs. those they give off unintentionally, they can be very different. If I were a parent, I'd want an opportunity to see my child face-to-face to see these things for myself. As my (rhetorical) son grows up, what kind of clothes will he wear? How will he carry himself? How will he react when we're walking down the street and a cute girl passes him by? I can ask him all these questions, but the answers he gives me will probably be different from the answers I could glean through direct observation.
Now, videoconferencing mitigates this, but reports I've heard are that videoconferencing is still slow laggy crap. And there's still a difference between seeing a head-on view of someone while they sit down, and seeing them do all kinds of other things. Which leads into ...
2. You can do a wider range of things together off-line than you can do on-line.
If you want to get to know somebody really well, you don't do just one thing with them. You do as many things as possible together. If you were to have a friend who you did lots of different things with -- you work together, live together, go to parties together, go camping together, volunteer in the inner city together -- you'd probably know each other extremely well. (Probably too well, but that's a different problem entirely.)
Online interaction tends to be just one thing: Sitting down at a computer and typing about stuff. (Online games mitigate this a little, but it's still a pretty limited range of activity.) The two of you can talk about what kind of ice cream you like, but you can't actually go get ice cream together. As the theoretical parent, I'd find this annoying, too. I'd want to know how he acts. How does my rhetorical son treat other people? How does he treat the waitress at a restaurant? How does he react when his plans don't go off quite as he'd hoped?
These are the kinds of things you miss out on, quite a bit, when you don't get to spend actual face-to-face time with someone. I certainly wouldn't want my parenting to be online, for those reasons.
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