Friday, December 17, 2010

The technology of punishment

As a parent, I am often looking of new and innovative ways to punish my children for 'bad' behaviour or other forms of noncompliance with my wishes. Restricting television has been a favourite but often an issue since we restricted that just for the apparent fun of it -- it didn't build up enough punishment capital.

This new report from the University of Southern California notes that the trend is away from 'no TV' and towards 'no Internet' as the punishment of the times.
Researchers at the Center report parents are now limiting their children’s Internet access and television use in nearly identical ways. Three in five American households restrict television use as a punishment, a figure that’s hardly budged over the past decade. Restricting children’s Internet use as a form of punishment has steadily increased over the years and is now a practice in 57 percent of the nation’s homes with children under 18.
Easier said than done. The problem is that the Internet can get used for homework and also for communication. On both of those scores, the punishment may well hurt me more than it would hurt them. Not that it excludes it from being a punishment but my kids will see right through my potential lack of credibility in threatening and keeping to it.