Your teen's phone and computer aren't just ways to connect and communicate -- they're social hubs for your child. While taking away phone and computer privileges might be effective, it should be done in the right way to really make an impact on a teen's behavior. According to a 2010 Pew Research Survey, 62 percent of parents removed a child's phone as punishment. If you plan on following suit, make sure that you're firm but understanding.
Ask to speak to your teen calmly, and talk about the negative behavior you've noticed. Your teen's grades might have taken a nosedive, or you may have noticed her spending less time with the family and more time connected to friends via computer and phone, for instance. Taking away technology privileges shouldn't be done in the heat of an argument, so wait until you feel ready to discuss the behavior and the consequences calmly.
Connect the behavior to her digital habits. If her grades are sliding, it could be the result of using her computer for social networking instead of studying. Create a direct correlation between the behavior and the consequence so that the punishment makes sense to your teen, suggests Empowering Parents. Taking away computer privileges because your teen missed curfew could miss the mark.
Give your teen a measurable amount of time that she can expect to not have her phone or computer available. Keep the amount of time short so it is impactful -- the act of taking away a prized possession is already effective, notes Mayo Clinic. You can even mark it on the computer so your teen has an exact date to look toward. This shows that, while she's being disciplined, you're fair about the punishment terms.
Talk to your teen about the alternatives she can use while she's grounded from technology. She might not be able to have her own laptop, for instance, but she can use the family computer in the living room if she needs to do schoolwork, or she can take your phone if she needs to contact you while out of the house. It's important to be fair but clear about rules during the grounding period.
Give your teen's phone and computer back with the stipulation that she must follow rules if she expects to keep her tech gadgets. It's an excellent opportunity to sit down with your teen and explain what you expect in the future so your teen is clear on rules and boundaries when it comes to using her phone and computer.
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