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BOTD 11/11/16 "His Screen, My Screen, There's A Difference To Be Seen (With Bonus)" A DMK Production

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David M. Katz

A DMK Production

This is Alex, he is your thirteen year-old son.

ALEX - 13
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This is Alex's best friend and your next door neighbor, thirteen year-old Logan.

LOGAN - 13
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You use spanking with Alex but, as he has entered his teen years, you have also introduced restrictive punishments.  You also know that Logan's parents are basically in line with you about their son's punishments.

During a recent parent-teacher conference you learned that Alex had close to failing grades in three of his classes.  Alex is bright and has always done well in school and so you did ask the teachers where the problem seemed to be coming from.  In all three cases you were told that Alex was simply not doing any of the assignments and, if he would do the work, he could turn it in for reduced credit but it would raise his grade significantly.

You came home and asked Alex about it since he had been telling you all of his homework was done or that he didn't have any homework.  After some discussion, Alex finally admitted to lying about his school work so that he could play on his computer, phone, or video games.  You decided a logical consequence would work better than a spanking. Alex was restricted from ALL screens (TV, video games, handheld games, computer and smart phone) with the exception of computer use needed for school assignments that would be supervised. You took Alex's phone and replaced it with a flip phone that could only make and receive calls to and from parents and emergency services.  The restriction would be in place until all make up assignments were done and current work was being done on a timely basis but with a minimum loss of screens for at least two weeks.

Alex was devastated when you handed down the punishment and begin crying and begging you to spank him or do something else but you stood firm.  Alex eventually stormed off to his room in tears slamming the door behind him.

That was four days ago.  Things have been tense and Alex has been moody but he is making progress on his assignments.  You happen to be checking your social media sites and come across a post from Alex dated yesterday at around noon.  You check some of Alex's sites (you required him to give you the passwords) and find activity there as well; all around mid-day. You call Alex to you and ask how that was possible.

Alex puts on his best attitude and rolls his eyes at you and says, "Logan has been letting me use his phone *during lunch at school.  You just said I couldn't use my screens you didn't say I couldn't use his."

What happens to Alex?


Your neighbor's son, Alex, is under a screen use restriction due to some school work issues.  You know about this because your son, Logan, has told you about it.

You get a call from your good friend and neighbor, Alex's parent, who just wanted to let you know that Logan had been letting Alex use his smart phone *during school lunch period.

Do you do anything about this?

*Students are permitted to have phones at this school but can only use them during passing periods and lunch.

Cleverly disguised as a responsible adult.


NO, Logan is right I did not restrict him from using other devices, just his own! My mistake, his gain.

Next time I will avoid The problem of having to think real carefully by just spanking him and have done with it!


Pi Beta

Alex is a smart little ******, and I'll conceed defeat about lunchtime - after all, he could probably have gone into a library and used a computer there as well and this has happened during school time!

He is, however, going to have to reimburse Logan for the air time he's using from his own pocket. Any association with Logan outside school at either house will have to be closely supervised by one or other parent to enforce the ban until Alex has caught up to ensure no other sliding from the ban!


First--Logan isn't in trouble, but I'm going to tell him that Alex is on electronics restriction and he (Logan) is not to allow him (Alex) use of his phone for any but emergency circumstances until that restriction is lifted. I will tell him when, as Alex's dad will tell me.

Alex IS in trouble. The scenario specifically says he is grounded from ALL screens except for schoolwork. Social media sites are NOT schoolwork. The fact that they aren't Alex's own electronics doesn't matter--it might in a court of law, but it doesn't to me. I'm going to both spank him and extend his electronics restriction, starting the two week minimum over from now. Too clever by half, but this time, at least, it will come home to bite him in the butt.


OK Alex the samart hmm Alex(c) has used Logan to work around the restrictions. As Logans parents Logan is on notice that this stops now or he will be spanked.

As Alex's Dad I am extending the ban to any other screen on pain of a spanking to go with his other restrictions


I have to realise that I'm cutting him off of 90% of his social life. That's the way it works for the kids now.

He is making progress and lunch time is explicitly free time. Nevertheless I've banned him from using phones and I will make it very clear that includes any phone not belonging to him. However, I think that 15 or 20 minutes supervised access to his social sites each day will improve his mood and probably his work perceptibly while the punishment is still noticable.

Y Lee Coyote

A boy in solitary confinement is not going to study effectively and will be very resentful. The specified punishment was draconian and thus cruel and unusual.  As Padraig just beat me to pointing out, teen social life is mostly on social media now unlike even twenty years ago when a grounded kid still had much of his interaction intact just by being at school.  

A more proportional approach would be more like grounding – immediate return from school and then current homework and some catchup homework before any screen time.

I’m also worried about using his passwords for that is like reading his diary.  Everyone needs some privacy and he won’t learn to respect others if I don’t respect his.  Reading his public posts is an entirely different matter along with encouraging him to discuss the ‘controversial’ ones before rather than after.

Since Logan is not violating his rules Alex certainly can not have violated any so he free and clear.  Of course, this should not have come up as I mentioned above.



Editor Extraordinaire
I'm with Padraig and YLC on this one.



If Alex can get his grades up I can see a bright future for him as a lawyer Smile

I think I have to accept he has outsmarted me in a way I didn't foresee.

I'll let him have the equivalent time at home that he will now lose by being denied access to Logan's phone.

Hope Logan's parents don't impose any penalty on him for 'aiding and abetting' since what was being given was use in Alex's free time at school.


The scenario is very specific that he was grounded from ALL screen time, except school related.

Further, while I may have cut him off from 90% of his social life, that's because he was overdosing on his social life to the detriment of other things. At 13, maybe he doesn't understand why school work is important, but that's why it's important for me not to just let him blow it off.

If Alex can convince me he honestly believed that this would be okay, I might not add further punishment, but I have a feeling that a spanking is due. After some recovery time, I may be willing to negotiate so he can have some screen time each day, IF he does enough homework, and only after he has done that homework, but he can expect another sore bottom to go along with the renegotiation.

"In the end, it's just a story. But if you ask me, it's all true."


David M. Katz wrote:
Alex puts on his best attitude and rolls his eyes at you and says, "Logan has been letting me use his phone *during lunch at school.  You just said I couldn't use my screens you didn't say I couldn't use his."

What happens to Alex?

Nothing.  Using Logan's phone during lunch seems okay to me.  The whole point of restricting screen time was to ensure that Alex spends the time instead for assignment catch-up, and that is working so why mess with it.  A few minutes at lunch is not going to compromise Alex's schoolwork.

David M. Katz wrote:
You get a call from your good friend and neighbor, Alex's parent, who just wanted to let you know that Logan had been letting Alex use his smart phone *during school lunch period.

[b]Do you do anything about this?

No.  It's not Logan's responsibility to enforce Alex's punishment.  (I might even be a bit annoyed with Alex's parent for trying to drag me into this private affair.)

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