Digital Teens – Do you put them in digital time-outs?

The Havertownies Headquarters kids have been put in the communications clink a few times. What is that, you may ask?

phonejail It’s the dreaded Digital Dungeon. Electronic Expulsion. The Snapchat Slammer. The feared “phone prison:” i.e., the behavioral punishment that devoids the little devil from a direct line to his social network. Some experts call it “digital grounding.”

Pew Research Center released new data about how parents monitor their teens’ digital comings and goings. Apparently 65% of us have taken away the phone privileges as punishment for our teens aged 13-17.

Click on the image to see more Pew stats

Click on the image to see more Pew stats

Taking away the phone doesn’t seem to be a very effective punishment. Plus, it turns out to be quite inconvenient for us parents, as we are spoiled in our instant-access to our kids. A well-timed “Where are you?” can strike fear into the heart of any curfew-busting teen. And really, phones now are a safety accessory. Do we really want our teens, as a group, accepting their friends dropping off the map without a second glance? When a friend doesn’t answer texts, t’s a good bet to assume she must have gotten her phone taken away, but perhaps that isn’t something we want kids to think. If someone isn’t answering, that should send up a red flag of some sort, not a dismissive “Oh, she must be on punishment” thought.

Here at HTHQ we’re trying to stick with punishments that don’t also punish us, the parents. We like having a “digital leash” on the kids and taking away their phones takes away a convenience we pay for and use. The regular old, run-of-the-mill grounding we all grew up with still works just fine.

Are you one of the 65%? How has taking away your children’s phone privileges worked out for you?


Pew Internet Research Parents, Teens and Digital Monitoring

Photo Credit: Townie Christine Cavalier