WWYD – Trust

A friend of mine has a bunch of kids, ranging in ages from 10 to 16, old enough that they can be home alone by themselves for a little bit.

The parents went out, and when they returned they realized that the children had figured out Mommy’s computer password and had gone online – something that they know they are not to do without parental supervision.

The parents are obviously upset, and Dad decided that he was going to totally disconnect the internet from the house. Mom wonders if this is overkill or a suitable punishment. The kids knew the rules, and broke them and they need to be punished. Taking away the internet reduces the parents’ ability to work from home in the future and doesn’t teach the children online responsibility, IMHO.

Dad wants Mom to sit with the kids when they are online – something that busy moms cannot do. Unless she is willing to sit with them as they surf, there will be no internet in the house.

If you were these parents what would you do? Do you think Dad over reacted by cancelling the internet? What would be an appropriate punishment for the kids?

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  1. tesyaa says:

    Um, make the password harder? A random password is better than whatever she was using. My younger kids figured out my password and I just changed it to something harder. And when they figure that out, I’ll change it to something harder. If the goal is the punish the kids, there are other ways.

  2. Mark says:

    Exactly what I was thinking. Change the password. If it is so easy that KIDS can guess, then it isn’t much of a password.

    And to eliminate Internet access because of choosing a bad password is insane and is harmful to the kids. Yes, harmful, because a time is coming soon (may even be here already) such that if a person can’t use the Internet, they will be unable to excel in life, and may even be unable to perform certain basic life skills (banking, paying bills, etc).

  3. Mark says:

    And as a general rule, to punish kids for curiosity is a very bad practice.

  4. lady lock and load says:

    There are various filters that can be put on computers and monitering devices. And the computer should be placed in a common living place where people walk in and out, like a living room, and not in their bedroom.

  5. fille says:

    But mom and dad had a good time going out.

    So why shouldn’t the children have a good time at home?

    Of course, when the parents are out, the children make the (often harmless) transgressions they cannot do when the parents are home.

    1) I think it is way over the top to have such restricted internet access

    2) As a reaction, maximum, I would take the computer or the internet cable or the router with me when I go out.

  6. mekubal says:

    Personally I think disconnecting the internet from the home is a bit of an overreaction. In all honesty a good third party internet filter especially one that caters to Jewish sensitivities is a fair way to restrict access and quite honestly will probably be better overall than mom sitting there with them.

    In the end it is the parents’ decision how to best run their household and raise their children, but that is what I would do. Heck that is what my wife and I have already done. Its great no inappropriate web ads no worries about inappropriate sites in internet searches… ect.

  7. Baila says:

    When parents give consequences that are unrealistic, difficult to enforce and punish themselves as well as the kid/s in question, it’s tough to follow through. I think perhaps “grounding” the kids for a short period of time fromthe computer and THEN putting in appropriate filters, time limits (which you can program into the computer) and codes is a much more realistic consequence. Also it’s interesting to me that Dad says Mom has to sit with the kids while they are surfing. If my husband said something like that to me, I’d ask him (politely, of course) to take some time off of work to occasionally relieve me from that parental duty. (Well, maybe not THAT politely).

    • batya from NJ says:

      i agree baila! i also don’t like consequences for my kids that affect ME (no computer access in the house). i agree that grounding kids from the computer is appropriate followed by your & LLLs suggestions of putting in appropriate filters & monitoring. we personally use net-nanny/content watch as a filtering system.
      i think it is important to teach children that it’s ok to have internet in the house but that it should be used appropriately but of course kids will be curious & try to test their boundaries & when they do so there are consequences for their actions. believe me, been there done that with my teens-it’s a normal part of raising children & the challenges that ensue…

  8. The wife should punish her husband! He’s rotten to punish her for having a too easy to guess password.

  9. mrsmelissasg says:

    My first though: she needs a better password!

  10. Tzvi says:

    use k-9, it’s free, good, you can set it to bark every time someone goes to a restricted site, and it can be set to shut off the internet for x minutes after x restricted pages are attempted within x amount of time. If you ban it, the kids will go elsewhere, totally unsupervised.

  11. Nora says:

    Why punish everyone?
    1- Pick a new password. If a group of young-ish teenagers could guess it the computer and internet weren’t exactly secure to begin with.
    2- Put accounts on the computer for the kids with time limits and age appropriate filters. Then there’s no need to sit in the room with them the whole time.

    Taking away the internet completely is a complete over-reaction. What’s to say these children don’t have friends who have internet access at home? Also, do the older children (at least) never use the internet for research and homework purposes? Why not just ground the kids, put the filters on and call it good?

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