Removing Your Child’s Electronics Without a Wrestling Match

Teen with headphones on ignores her mother

What is the usual scenario?

You know the drill, you want to remove electronics as a punishment but, when you make the attempt, an emotional reaction ensues and your child or teen refuses to give-up his phone or video-game controller. If you push the matter, you end-up literally in a wrestling match, which you know is inappropriate and ill-advised, so you get worn-out over the course of time and may even give-up.

What’s the alternative?

I often suggest that parents avoid direct confrontations and heated arguments – nobody wins. I’ve written prior on the importance of relying on, for example, behavior charts as opposed to cajoling your child. In that respect, the behavior chart, not you, determines the privilege level. In any case, the same applies in this scenario; the goal is to remove the electronics, when necessary, with no direct confrontation. So, how do you do that?

You could sneak

Some parents have had a degree of success sneaking into their kid’s room and taking their phone or video-game controller. However, that is not always effective and, really, do we want to be sneaking around our own home?

There are various helpful applications

There are ways to simply shut-down your child’s video-games and phone. For example, Family Circle is easy to install and, through your router, allows you to turn off the wifi to any given device in the home, set a bedtime to automatically turn off the electronics, set time-limits, and use a ‘pause’ button.

Family Circle can also shut-off the wifi for your child’s phone, but then they can simply use their data to be online even without the wifi. In that case, you have another app-related option; there are quite a number on the market, but one is Famisafe, which downloads into your phone and your child’s phone, then you can take control of the phone, regardless of wifi (you’ll also be able to control data usage), when you see fit to do so. The app is installed in one of two ways: you send a link to your child to download the app, or you’ll have to get physical access of the phone and download yourself.

Another option

If you contact your carrier, you can report the phone lost or stolen, and they will turn it off. Nothing changes on the phone (all the apps and connections will remain intact), and you simply call the carrier when you want the phone turned back on. According to Sprint, for example, you can make such a request as often as you want.

I hope that helps

The goal is to have a happy a harmonious home, which potentially can be enhanced if your child understands you can take control of his or her electronics at a moment’s notice, and without any direct confrontation. I hope this post helps in that process. May God bless you and your family.

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Dr. John Carosso

Dr. Carosso has more than 30 years of experience as a licensed Child Clinical Psychologist and Certified School Psychologist working in private, inpatient, outpatient, residential, school, and home settings. He is Clinical Director of Community Psychiatric Centers (cpcwecare.com), a licensed Behavioral Health Outpatient Clinic, and operates both the Autism Center of Pittsburgh (autismcenterofpittsburgh.com) and the Dyslexia Diagnostic and Treatment Center (dyslexiatreaters.com).