Taking away the cell phone

                                                              Should parents take away cell phones as punishment?



My youngest son has a foul mouth. It’s coming from the music he listens to and the You Tube videos he watches. Sometimes, he’ll walk around the house singing obscene from rap songs or  video.

The more vulgar the song, the more he remembers the lines. I’m constantly on him on about this.

I’ve banned him from You Tube but frankly, it’s too hard to monitor. He pulls it up on a friend’s phone when I’m not around.

Last night, I blew up. He was walking around the house singing a song and doing some gestures that had something to do with a girl humping a guy in the back of a car and trying to pin him down months later as the baby daddy. “Now I’m pregnant and you the pappy…say what?”

The best punishment I could think of was taking away his cell phone. It’s the one thing he really cares about these days. Yet, taking away the phone punishes me as well.  Today after school is the school dance and I want to be in touch with him for pick up.

In some ways, taking away the electronics worries me. The goal, of course, is to help my son learn from his mistakes, make better choices and demonstrate more maturity. We all know that for wired kids, the most impactful consequence is loss of digital privileges. But am I giving electronics more power by using them for discipline? Will taking his cell away make it something he wants to use even more?

I dont’ know about you, but I know how hard it is to enforce digital punishment.  A recent Pew Report found many parents don’t follow through on cellphone bans.

Some parenting experts believe we should use digital punishment sparingly. They say the most effective consequences grow logically out of misbehavior. A kid who sends an inappropriate text loses cellphone access or a kid whose grades suffer because she’s on Facebook instead of doing homework gets social media access taken away. The recommend saying the device is being grounded instead of the child.

So what do you think about digital grounding? Have you ever taken away your teen’s or tween’s cell phone as punishment and if so, did it change the behavior?


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1 Comment

  1. Samantha R. July 6, 2015 at 2:53 pm

    My dad takes away my sister’s phone quite often as a punishment for lying or doing something wrong, which usually seems to work because she has to rely on my parents for everything. It became increasingly difficult during the school year as well because she needed her iPad for school work. However my dad stayed strong. She still has her phone taken away. I think it teaches her how to operate on a “need to have” basis. If my parents need to get in contact with her, she has her phone, but then it gets taken right back away. I think it teaches respect.



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