Digital Grounding – Kids and Teens Get Digital Punishment for the Digital Age
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Once upon a time, kids didn’t carry cell phones and smart phones. Texting didn’t exist, and telephone calls were made on analog phones which teens would tie up for hours on end. That has all changed with the advent of the electronic society, and with it, the methods of punishing children and teens have also changed. Now kids who misbehave have such activities as “screen time” and “texting privileges” removed. That’s right, we are living in an age of digital grounding – where instead of being literally grounded from going places, kids are having their electronic gadgets removed or their use of them restricted.

Leaving aside the question of whether kids should even have cell phones (particularly with access to the Internet), or should be texting, Facebooking, Tweeting, and all other manner of digital activity (and by now we hope you know where we stand on that), the use of digital grounding seems to be rather effective – when the parent themselves can stand it.


In a recent study by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, the Pew researchers found that nearly two-thirds of all parents surveyed (62%) had taken away their teen child’s cell phone as punishment for some infraction or other.

Said one girl in middle school, “I got in trouble, and I ruined my records, so my mom took my phone away from me.”

In fact, the study also found that parents are much more likely to inflict digital grounding on a girl than they are a boy. A full 69% of girls’ parents reported taking their female child’s phone away as a negative consequence, while only 55% of boys’ parents mete out the same punishment.

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All that said, the study also found that many parents relented and ended the punishment early when the parents found that it drove them crazy not to be able to call or text their child.

That, it turns out, is both the good news and the bad news for these kids. Explains one young teen, “The worst thing is, I guess, like, when you don’t want to get in touch with your mom, but she can always get in touch with you. Sometimes you want your space. But when you have your phone you can’t have your space.”

No Paywall Here!
The Internet Patrol is and always has been free. We don't hide our articles behind a paywall, or restrict the number of articles you can read in a month if you don't give us money. That said, it does cost us money to run the site, so if something you read here was helpful or useful, won't you consider donating something to help keep the Internet Patrol free?
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