My 10-year-old son sent a message on his iPad through a word game to a family friend that was beyond inappropriate and had cuss words in it. She told her parents, who told us. We are both upset and shocked, but disagree on what to do. I grounded him for two weeks with no television, sent him up to his room with books only, took away the iPad forever, made him pull weeds all day, and will have him continue for the next four days with chores while he is on spring break. He also personally apologized to the girl. My husband thinks he should also not get to play any more baseball for the rest of the season but I think that is too harsh. He has been caught cussing before but we just sent him to bed early or took away the iPad. His iPad, I thought, had all the messaging apps taken off it. I just don't know what to do; we are both so mad.
You haven't described the exact nature of your son's message, but it seems to me that the multiple punishments you have given him will certainly have transmitted YOUR message by now regarding the attitude of you and your husband to his action.
At this point I'd suggest that you both start to switch your focus from how to punish him further to finding out what motivated his message in the first place. At the age of 10, I assume that by now he has the capacity to explain his feelings and motivations reasonably coherently. If you can get to the bottom of the reason for his behaviour, you will be in a much better position to anticipate the possibility of any repetitions, and to devise strategies for helping him to deal with any frustrations or other issues in a more constructive manner.
Meanwhile, I recommend that you and your husband should first actively try to calm yourselves down from your state of heightened emotion. If you are still visibly displaying anger towards your son, any attempts on your part to open two-way communication with him so that you can gather some information about why he behaved as he did will very likely fail, because he won't want to expose himself to the possibility of further punishment and/or other recriminations. There must come a point at which you and your son have to be ready to let go of your negative feelings towards each other to enable the life of your household to return to normal, and your son probably won't be able to do that until you can.
You might also find the answer from balanced mama to this question useful:
Parents are the one who set the example. I don't think such punishments as pulling weeds in your yards or going to bed early will make him realize why normal decent human beings do not curse. Talk to him on this matter, explain why people who express themselves such as, are not respected and are not considered to be educated or smart. Especially when the words were addressed to a female which lowers his standards of female respect.
Back when I was a kid, we had to do lines and lots of them.
Write out by hand 500 times (at 26 lines or so per page double spaced, this is around 20 pages):
It's not painful, it's not physical, but it's intensely boring, and after doing that he won't want to repeat the lines again for quite a while.
Until the lines are done, no going out, no sports, no T.V., no online anything.
For what it's worth, we cheated a bit by going vertically. Is then wills etc. but the message did get through, and the teachers knew it, but didn't complain.
If they do it again, simply repeat the punishment.
Also, who knows, his handwriting might improve.
This behavior is called "cyberbullying" and has become very common with kids as soon as messaging begins (usually around the 4th grade) and has become a very big topic in schools. Boys tend to cyberbully by sexting and girls tend to do more gossip and exclusion. It's taken seriously; I know one high school girl who is having to do high school from home because she was involved in cyberbullying another girl.
You've definitely done an appropriate amount of punishing, but now it's time to step back, relax, and try to educate him going forward. Kids are going to do bad things, and especially starting now, they will be looking to push boundaries. Cracking down is of limited value, you need to be proactive.
Here's an except from "If Your Child Is a Cyberbully" with some next steps:
There may be seminars at school or resources your school counselor has on this topic (I know they do here in Texas, and I attended a cyberbullying seminar at a local elementary school). Most of the information is usually more tuned to how to detect if your child is cyberbullied and prevention from the victim's angle, but there's definitely some information from that point of view (it's not actually much different from traditional bullying, it's just using a new venue technology has made possible, so older works on preventing bullying in your child will apply just as well).