How to Ground Your Geek Kids: You’re Firewalled!


Image By: Mike Licht

The de facto punishment when I was a kid was a spanking, but for severe infractions, where that wasn’t enough, a week of being grounded or weekend of hard labor often followed.

With my own kids we’ve gravitated toward grounding as the effective punishment of choice. Not always the full grounded, can’t go anywhere, do anything, kind of my childhood, but a restriction of the privileges. Especially the privileges that are most valued like the cell phone, laptop, Nintendo DS and web access.

Our geeklets attend school online during the day, so a complete ban on internet access isn’t possible, but thanks to its access restrictions settings, our router comes to the rescue. As of this week, one of the laptops in the house can only access the internet from 8am to 8pm. We’ve been honest about the hourly restrictions, but haven’t yet fessed up to why a certain website fails to load from our house. Maybe I’ll just blame it on karma: “The internet knows when you’ve been bad and punishes you accordingly.”

For those interested, I’m using an aging, but reliable, Linksys WRT54G Router with the Tomato Firmware. There are about half a dozen open source alternatives to the Linksys firmware, and a few of them have useful access restriction settings.

In this case the punishment is for surfing foopets and youtube after being told to go to bed. How would you handle this form of misbehavior?

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