Do you take away internet, all ’screen time’ for punishments?

Parents are always searching for good ways to punish their children and for years have relied on taking away TV. But in the last decade, taking away the internet has become a powerful tool in a parent’s punishment arsenal!

From The Associated Press:

“No TV for a week, the time-honored punishment for misbehaving children, has been enhanced. Now, parents are also withholding Internet access to punish their kids, further sign that the Web has become as important to families as television.”

“As the two mediums converge, parents are quickly coming to see TV and the Internet in similar ways and are seeking to limit their kids’ access to both, according to a report out this week from researchers at the University of Southern California.”

“The survey from the USC Annenberg Center for the Digital Future found that two-thirds of parents say they restrict their kids’ access to TV as punishment, a number that has barely budged over the past 10 years. But the percentage of parents who limit Internet access as a form of punishment has nearly doubled in the last decade.”

“Among parents surveyed this spring, 57 percent said they withheld Web access to punish their kids. That is up from 32 percent in 2000.”

“Michael Gilbert, a senior fellow at the center, said parents are starting to not see a big distinction between TV watching and Internet use. Even so, parents are still more comfortable with the amount of time kids spend on the Internet — 71 percent said it was “just about right” compared with just 51 percent for TV.”

Our family is completely in line with this trend. Depending on the severity of the crime I can so “no TV,” or “no TV and Wii” or the big granddaddy of them all “No TV, no Wii and no computer!” We call that simply “No Screen time!” and boy do they freak out when that judgment is handed down.

The story also talks about parents’ concerns and comfort-level with their kids watching TV and being on the Internet. I’m not so worried about the time on screens (I don’t think they spend that much during the school year) but I do think taking that limited time away is very effective.

Do you use the all-encompassing “screen time” as a punishment? Do they respond to that more so than just TV or video games or computer individually? Do you worry about their total amount of time on the screens?

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Tiger Ochocinco Mellencamp

December 17th, 2010
12:23 pm

In our household, there is nothing other than essential necessities for survival (i.e. food, water, shelter, and clothing) excluded as tools of punishment. We don’t utilize corporal punishment and find that there’s always something that can be used to get the point across and correct action. TV and Wii have been used in the past but only as a starting point. I think any kid will get used to not getting to watch TV or play Wii pretty quick and do other fun things in short fashion. So quick that it’s hard to even call it punishment….so right after the media stuff is gone we actually proceed with the real punishment. That birthday party or playdate he’s been so looking forward to….that’s no longer going to happen. Oh, and it’s his responsbility to tell the kid why he didn’t get to go and that he’s sorry for letting him/her down. Those nights where he’s asked and gotten to stay up jusssst a couple minutes past bedtime…don’t even ask….seriously…..don’t……even……ask. For that matter, don’t ask for ANYTHING that could be construed as a luxury or special treatment until you have demonstrated the following things: genuine remorse, a genuine change in behavior, and the ability to tell us what you’ve learned from this experience and why. I’m not saying this is the best and/or only way to approach punishment….but in our household…it’s proven to be pretty effective.

Paige

December 17th, 2010
12:30 pm

With our 15 year old tech savey son, ZERO internet is the worst punishment there is. He has to tunn in his iphone for the one that just makes calls and text (we have no land line so some sort of phone is a must) ipod, xbox and computer only for school work. We have only had to do this twice. The first time he tried to call our bluff thinking we wouldn’t do it and if we did, we would give it right back. That was a long week at our house but mom and dad held firm. The second time (so far) was for grades and as they came up, privlidges were returned.

Can’t wait till next year when I can say…”no driving for you!” I think that will work even better!

Photius

December 17th, 2010
12:31 pm

Right on. We have always taken away those three – television, games and computer and our word is solid; we do not give in and our boy knows this. Have good behavior/performace – get a reward. Bad behavior/performance – suffer under our rule. I don’t worry about their total amount of time on the screen due to sports and his job. I do believe in discipline. Parents should never “give in” to the punishment rendered as it’s all about making the parent feel good due to seeing their child suffer because of what they did in the first place. Strong rewards for good – harsh punishment for bad. He is raised with discipline and has always been placed in a competitive environment since an early age. My son knows we don’t play around. We rule the house, we rule him – we are his parents, not his friends.

Lori

December 17th, 2010
12:39 pm

We absolutely do take all screen time away. My son is 7. He can’t stand not being able to watch tv or play video games. He really doesn’t get on the internet given his age. He has to earn the ability to play with other things during the restriction period. He can earn board games and legos, for example, by helping me with the dishes or folding the towels. But the screen time is gone for the entire period.

Kathy Wei

December 17th, 2010
12:45 pm

This story makes perfect sense. The line between being online and watching TV is very blurry. After all, when kids are watching TV through Netflix, Googletv, or TVDevo.com, they are actually online since all the shows are streamed over the internet. Furthermore, there are links to other sites, TV shows, etc….The links and prgramming bring TV and the web together.

penguinmom

December 17th, 2010
12:51 pm

absolutely, we take away video games or computer time. My boys would rather be able to play games than watch TV any day so taking away the games is a bigger punishment. I end up with handhelds in my bedroom and we block all Internet on their computers if needed.

The main problem with taking away computer time is the fact that some of their homework needs online access in order to be completed.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

December 17th, 2010
1:02 pm

I’m liking that — Walsh had a doozy this week and we’re still thinking on the best punishment. He’s in a holding pattern since last night.

Tiger Ochocinco Mellencamp

December 17th, 2010
1:16 pm

@TWG….I have a theory that when you really, really dole out some punishment that makes the kid feel like his world has collapse around him, you don’t have doozies anymore. If my kid had a “doozy” today, it would be pretty easy. First, guess who just went from the naughty list to the nice list at the 11th hour of X-mas. Second, that gift that is probably wrapped in your closet right now that is what he wanted most for X-mas is now going to stay on the shelf at least until his birthday. then on X-mas when he’s opened the rest of his presents and realized that one he wanted most isn’t there, I’d tell him that I told Santa not to bring it because of his doozy and then talk about all the ramifications that bad behavior brings and the other punishments he gets to live through. You do that and I’m thinking you’ll have a pretty doozy free 2011. But I’m also thinking there is no way you’ll do that. it’s just as hard on the parents as the kids….got to have the stones to do it, ya know?

Tiger Ochocinco Mellencamp

December 17th, 2010
1:23 pm

I meant “from the nice list to the naughty list”….

RJ

December 17th, 2010
1:29 pm

Taking away the TV doesn’t faze my kids. Taking away computer time does wonders. Tmobile allows me to black phone calls from anyone but us, so that works wonders too. They don’t have internet on their cell phones so that’s not a problem. I take mp3 players, psp, video controllers and TV cards from the box. My kids are older so I have to take away a lot. I will say that it does work. After not being able to get on Facebook and Twitter for a couple of days they’ll do whatever to get those privileges back.

I agree about homework. I make them keep the door open so I can pass by and easily see what they’re doing.

DB

December 17th, 2010
1:59 pm

The strongest thing I ever did was cancel a planned birthday party. We had an equestrian birthday party planned — a trail ride, etc. — for 10 kids. After the “doozy”, I cancelled the party, my child had to call their friends and tell them the party was cancelled AND they had to pay me back the cancellation fee.

I never really had to lower the boom too much, so there wasn’t a lot of “No TV! No screens!” As they got older, I did jerk the son’s license for a month when I caught him going too fast on an infamous road near our home. I think it’s more a matter of consistency when they are young — my kids had no question in their mind that their actions had consequences and Mom and Dad wouldn’t hesitate to impose those consequences. Either that, or they got very clever at hiding the evidence . . . :-)

abc

December 17th, 2010
2:02 pm

If deprivation of TV and Internet access are so effective, my first thought is that you should take them away anyway, and make them go play outside. ‘Course, they’d probably just go play video games at a friend’s house, right? What a shame.

I always tried to make the punishment suit the infraction. Punishment for the sake of punishment doesn’t really teach as much, in my opinion. If it’s lack of homework completion, then the homework had to be done in the kitchen where supervision was available, and daily monitoring of assignments was in order — just the surveillance alone was enough of a drag for them, and for me too, which made me cranky, and they didn’t want me to be cranky. That way, they learned that what they had to do to avoid the long-term policy and procedure shift was do what they were supposed to do.

Granted, it’s not the same as a spanking, taking away a favorite toy (or TV or Internet — sheesh) to get a pouty lip, and so there Buster! Take that! It takes a bit more investment from all parties, but the lesson is more effectively imparted, and desired behavior better achieved.

Jeanne

December 17th, 2010
2:16 pm

My rule is, when one is gone there all gone. “NO ELECTRONICS” is our punishment.

carmen

December 17th, 2010
2:17 pm

They get told once…then they get their behind whooped! I don’t have to tell them more than once most of the time.

Jeanne

December 17th, 2010
2:18 pm

That would be they’re not there.

KLR

December 17th, 2010
2:20 pm

Communications was the thing with my daughter so if I cut out internet acces and took the cell phone, and no friends or outings for a specific amount of time, that did the trick because she hated isolation from the “social scene”. Watching TV is dull so to take it away didn’t mean anything. Punishment was also coupled with extra chores. Repeats of the same offenses extended the scentence longer than last time (2 weeks 1st offense, 4 weeks 2nd offense, etc…)

ColDawg

December 17th, 2010
2:22 pm

It is amazing how much quality time you will experience with your kids once all of those “distractions” are taken away. They might even end up playing outdoors, imagine that!

luckyparent

December 17th, 2010
2:30 pm

what do your kids do that warrants this kind of punishment?? Comeon people!

atlanta

December 17th, 2010
2:33 pm

Jeanne I think you should lay off the grammar corrections, no one asked for you to educate them. It’s rather rude.

Normal Dad

December 17th, 2010
2:38 pm

Carmen, 1945 called. They want their lack of intelligence back. (My family and I will pray for your victims). As far as our kids go, we call it “computer suspension.” If it computes – it’s off until we say otherwise. Not for a day or a week (or an hour). When they realize the error of their ways, the on switch is flipped. Has never failed, not even once. (Jeez, Carmen, you are going to HATE prison!)

Maya

December 17th, 2010
2:40 pm

Our situation is tricky, as my boyfriend is not on friendly terms with his ex-wife and while he can use corporal punishment when necessary on the kids (12 y.o. girl, 6 y.o. boy), if I touch either one, she hollers abuse; I used to thump them on the shoulder after having to repeatedly correct them, but that’s abuse, too, apparently. The little boy knows that I don’t have the same power to enforce what his dad does, so he will often push the envelope with me. He’s not bad by any stretch of the imagination, but he’s not used to being held accountable or his actions (receiving an actual punishment as opposed to him being on the receiving end of lots of yelling).

For him an old-fashioned time out is the first after a few warnings, followed by being barred from the current activity, the Wii (which he adores and his mother lets him play ALL THE TIME), the computer (he has a small notebook she also bought him), etc. If I have to up the ante then I tell him that whenever we do another family activity (we take them to paint pottery, go play in the park, the bookstore, etc.) I will leave him at home with his dad or he will stay at home with me while his dad goes and his sister is allowed to enjoy the event. If all else fails, I have to resort to relying on my boyfriend using corporal punishment, which is rare, but it has happened. I have to be absolutely firm with him to prevent him from manipulating the situation. More often than not, he goes home and complains to his mom that we’re “mean” and that I hit or thump him when I haven’t, so I’m on pins and needles with him but unwilling to let him rule the roost. That’s just nuts.

The girl is really not a problem, but when one occurs she is spoken to first. Typically this curbs it, but we try to be fair in punishment between the two to an extent so we will bar her from an activity/toy/privilege (hello, cell phone!) when necessary. Usually with her she just needs to be reminded that she’s the child, we’re the adults, and her objections/opinions aren’t necessary. When the punishment comes, it’s not a discussion.

Overall, we’ve found that barring them from sitting in front of the boob tube and anything else that’s electronic has a productive effect – we get more family time. When the kids can’t stay glued to a screen they wander around and talk and prod and interact more, which is a more desirable outcome than railing against the punishment and lamenting the loss.

abacus2

December 17th, 2010
2:45 pm

When all else has failed – If a child has their own room take the door down. They hate losing privacy. The door goes back on when they demonstrate that they don’t need monitoring. One time is usually all it takes!

ethix

December 17th, 2010
2:46 pm

atlanta — she corrected herself, not somebody else.

Seriously!

December 17th, 2010
2:46 pm

@atlanta, Jeanne was simply correcting herself. Chill out!!!

Sandra

December 17th, 2010
2:48 pm

Well, It wouldn’t bother our kids that much if we got rid of the tv, computer and their games. I think that my husband and I would miss them the most. For punishments we just talk to our teen and timeout the youngest three. Even then the thing that upsets them the most is that they have upset/disapointed us. We do expect our children to say sorry when they are in the wrong and we are also not afraid to tell our children we are sorry if we make a mistake. Our children know that we make mistakes and that their parents are not all knowing. Whenever we have had to travel by plane, we have always been thanked by the staff on board for having such well mannered children. On one flight, I think our kids were the only ones not constantly running around the plane.

Decatur Taliban

December 17th, 2010
2:50 pm

Beating and flogging with a leather strap is still a good standby.

heather

December 17th, 2010
2:53 pm

Phone and internet go away. No texting for a teenager is like cutting off their arms. There is a tracfone for emergencies with hardly any minutes (since we have no landline). The internet can just be an extension of texting with all the different versions of chat (AIM, skype, facebook chat etc).
It’s painful for her and the behavior is corrected quickly.

Mom3Boys

December 17th, 2010
2:54 pm

I love this topic. At my house, we call the worst punishment “technology blackout.” All you get is a lightbulb in your room. You cannot use any other technology (OK, maybe the microwave). As soon as they are old enough to drive, threat of no license or taking the car keys works well, too.

The best punishment I ever saw (I’m a teacher) was for a kid who didn’t appreciate her good life. Her parents took away all her clothes, jewelry, makeup, etc…and gave her grey sweat pants and grey sweat shirt. She had to wear this to school every day until she appreciated her things, her parents, her sister, etc…I asked her how long she expected the punishment to last and she said her mom anticipated it would take her 6 weeks to learn the lesson. Fortunately, she was a fast learner and it only took two weeks.

Conversely, I had a parent one time who couldn’t get her son to do school work. He had a room full of gadgets, etc. I suggested taking it all away. She said, “I can do that?”

I don’t make this stuff up.

Monij1102

December 17th, 2010
2:58 pm

Leave the electronics – take the cords and batteries… to work w/ you… a reminder of what you HAD and would like to get BACK…

Queen Nerfballteedi

December 17th, 2010
2:58 pm

I will beat the fool out a child. That’s all.

Have a bless day…

joe

December 17th, 2010
3:02 pm

This is the type of reason why today’s kids are out of control…today, parents take things away from them which gives them next to no reason to obey and creates a weak minded child. We need to get back to the old school punishments of picking a switch, paddling and putting the fear of God into their minds via their behinds. My father actually cracked a paddle over my butt once…didn’t give him any trouble after that one. Thanks Dad. I love you.

Normal Dad

December 17th, 2010
3:07 pm

Joe, kids today are NOT out of control. Just wanted to drop another pesky fact into your otherwise perfct post. Sounds like the only one out of control is you. (Again, we will pray for your victims).

Greatmindsthinkalike

December 17th, 2010
3:08 pm

@abacus2 – I did that once when my 17 yr old daughter stomped up the stairs and slammed her door. I politely took the door off of the hinges and put it in the garage for one week. She was mortified. On a seperate occasion, I made her sleep in the living room on an air mattress until she proved to me that she appreciated her room and kept it CLEAN without me having to tell her. That worked wonders!!!

Cammi317

December 17th, 2010
3:11 pm

My tween (9 days away from being a teen, as she reminded me this morning…LOL!) daughter cares for about 20 minutes an then finds other ways to entertain herself. Taking away tv, phone or even computer is worthless. Her tv time is already limited during the week and she rarely uses an actual computer except for school work. She does have a facebook account (I monitor the post and I know the password) but she can log on from her phone and she only does that once or twice a day. Telling her she can’t go to some activity where she was invited is punishment to me. I am very picky about where and with whom she can participate in activities, and I usually make plans to do other things once I give the okay. It’s much more effective to give her an extra chore to do than trying to manage some crazy punishment.

joe

December 17th, 2010
3:19 pm

@ Normal, I’m very much in control…don’t have any victims to speak of as of today, but I appreciate that you pray. Please keep it up! Merry Christmas.

Mr. & Mrs. Dunwoody

December 17th, 2010
3:19 pm

We let the nanny handle it because we’re never there.

Cammi317

December 17th, 2010
3:22 pm

I digress, my daughter could care less about watching commercial television. However, she does love her Netflix and Hulu through the Roku box hooked to the living room tv. She will get right quickly with the threat of not being able to stream those channels.

Photius

December 17th, 2010
3:31 pm

Now where is the comment from Mother Jane Goose? Hmmmm…… I would love to read her response.

Fred

December 17th, 2010
3:31 pm

That’s all well and good tiger but what if your child does what I did? When I was asked to go to a party, I said no. I knew it wasn’t going to happen anyways so why get myself all worked up for something that was going to be taken away anyways. A sleep over? not on your life same thing. What do you want for your birthday? Doesn’t matter, you’ll just tease me with it anyways and I won’t get it.

For me it taught me I can’t trust anyone for anything. Nice lesson to learn as a kid. But I do have to admit that as an adult now, I don’t have to worry to much about being cheated. you have to trust someone in order to get cheated…………….

Old Fashioned

December 17th, 2010
3:34 pm

We take away TV and computer for misbehaving. We go further and during the week take away TV and videos on the computer (like youtube) for a grading period if they don’t get straight A’s. That’s not really a punishment, but an incentive to put their time to good use. My son, after 2 years, got straight A’s, we gave him (but not his sister) TV time during the school week, but he lapsed again the next period, so it was taken away. Both kids seem to try harder at school now.

Blue

December 17th, 2010
3:37 pm

Normal; yeah, you sound like you were serious about your “I’ll pray for you” thing. You’re “prison” comment lets us know how really, truly caring for that person that you are and that you are certainly not judgmental, right? Really? Spanking makes a kid a victim, and people who spank should be in prison? Got news for you, champ…there are plenty of kids that grew up getting spanked that turned out absolutely fine. And as a matter of fact, as each generation goes by, kids DO get worse and worse with behavior. Maybe there is a correlation there? And FYI…for you to think that YOUR methods will work on ALL kids is absurd. But hey…we all appreciate your prayers…again, you sound totally sincere about it!

Just Amazed

December 17th, 2010
3:38 pm

I find a lot of this very entertaining. Kids have everything today at their fingertips so why should they read a book, think for themselves, take a walk, hang out with friends, interact? Do they even do this anymore except at the mall when they have their parents credit cards and fee $$ in front of their eyes. And then one tends to wonder why they are spoiled brats. Dont think for one minute your kids are wonderful as I see them out in those malls and at the waffle house and playing games in walmart. You would be amazed. Maybe they should be at home reading a book and learning how to actually count money instead of wondering how many high priced communication devises you need to take away.

mom of 3

December 17th, 2010
3:41 pm

My college freshman was caught by me thank goodness having quite a few beer bottle tops, i don’t mean a 6 pk, in her car. Of course, they weren’t hers they were the people that were in her car. Yeah, right. I was a college freshman at one point.
I drove her to her classes and waited on her in the student lounge in the afternoon. She was grounded for 2 weeks which inc’l yard work, house work, and helping with other chores around the house.
She probably drank and drove again after all college kids will be college kids but at least I tried to teach her a lesson and if she did drink and drive I could never prove it again.

Fred

December 17th, 2010
3:44 pm

Just amazed.

Do you actually let your kids take walks? I live in the city, no way I’m letting my 8 year old daughter out of my sight. But you brought up an interesting point on books. I started to ask Tiger Ocho what he would do if his child, (as mine does), likes to read books. Not just fiction, but books on science and biographies and such. Take those away too lol? He probably would, it sounds like it fits his totalitarian control method………

lawanda

December 17th, 2010
3:51 pm

i need help, i have a very disrespectful 14 year old daughther who have been disagnos with odd and hdad. she hates authority she has to be right about everything . she don’t listen to anyone she has chores she don’t do them, she do things when she wants to. she blames everyone but herself when she is wrong are do something wrong. i took everything from her she just gets the basic , food , shelter clothes, i say go up she goes down everythig is the oposite with her. i just been diagnoise with rhemotoid arthrits, fibromagia, axitity and depression. and i am dealing with this child. don’t get me wrong i love her to death she use to be my baby but since she hit purbery. i can’t stand this person. if any one is confuse about what is odd it is definance difitinace disorder please excuse my spelling. i need help. if there is anyone out there who can give me advice i will take it. a by the way she has a therapist and some one comes to this house every week are two. and yes i have a shrink two…. HELP ME WITH THIS CHILD. EMAIL ME AT LAWANDAM-1987@AYHOO.COM

Trey

December 17th, 2010
4:01 pm

Jeez, what happened to the ol’ letting the belt do the talking? When I have kids I will use the belt if needed, and I don’t plan on letting them watch much television, or play many video games. They need to focus on school work. The public education system is horrible, so they need to work twice as hard to get ahead.

Wayne

December 17th, 2010
4:03 pm

I’ve been away from my desk for most of the day, so sorry if this is redundant: you can block internet access on your router. Most newer routers are able to block either websites or by time. If you’ve set up security on it (which you all have, right?) you can specify what devices have access, and at what time. It’s pretty easy too, so if you really need to get down and dirty, you can block it at the source. You can use the computer up until 7:00 for homework, but after that? It’s off! Better hurry!

Have a good weekend everyone.

winkasdad29

December 17th, 2010
4:08 pm

I’m OK with kickin’ some butt now and then, but I haven’t had to do that in at least 5 years. Since I hold a few IT certifications, I’m able to turn off the internet without taking away the computer. Last week, my daughter was given a task and did not do it when I told her to do it. I simply pulled out my laptop, entered the router’s interface and blocked her IP address. When she told me the internet was down, I told her, “my internet works. I blocked you. Now go do what I told you to do and remember this very important thing: I have the power”.

Thanks parents for giving me some good ideas for discipline. My other 3 kids are now adults. My 13 year old daughter lives in a different world than her older siblings. Some of y’all are mad scientists out there. This is good stuff! Thanks again.

Mom of 4

December 17th, 2010
4:12 pm

One of the best punishments we ever executed was witholding Christmas. Our children are very ’spoiled’, not in the sense that they misbehave, but they don’t want for much between grandparents, step-grandparents, aunts and uncles. For some reason, at one time, all four decided that school wasn’t that important and everyone’s grades fell. Coupled with not performing chores when asked or expected and I had had enough. My husband and I decided that we would take what was normally spent on Christmas and pay down some debt. On Christmas morning, the realization hit that Mom and Dad were deadly serious and we have had A/B Honor Roll students since.