Should You "Digitally" Ground Your Kids?

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These days when kids get grounded—they’re not simply told they have to stay home—but instead are being “digitally grounded.” Parents are taking away their kids’ cell phones, Facebook rights and everything else digital—cutting them off from their friends. And with 93 percent of kids using these technologies, according to the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project, kids are really feeling the sting of this discipline.

But how can you ground your child from technology?

On “The Early Show” Tuesday, Dr. Jennifer Hartstein, an “Early Show” contributor and child and adolescent psychologist, explained the punishment has to fit the crime.

“You want to think about what it is that they did and what it is they’re getting punished or disciplined for,” she said. “So you want to make it appropriate.”

But what stops families from following through with this type of punishment?

Regina Lewis, AOL consumer advisor, said the inconvenience of not being in touch with your child often hampers parents from this type of punishment.

She said, “What if there’s an emergency? How will I know when soccer practice is over? It’s an inconvenience to you.”

However, she recommends customizing your cell phone plan.

“Every major carrier allows for this,” she said. “Think of it as the inverse of blocking. Instead of trying to block or blacklist the bad guys, you white list the good guys, you, the other spouse, an emergency contact. Those are the only calls they’ll be able to make calls to and take calls to. You can turn off text messaging which is the biggie. Ironically there’s a cost for that because the cell phone companies, of course, want you to text message. So expect to pay about $5 a month to turn it off.”

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