even if there is no forcing/pinning etc of a child, i cannot tell you how many times i've been out and about in the world and i've heard the words come from an exasperated parent:
"DO YOU WANT A TIME OUT?"
and usually, right after that, a "NOOOOOOOO!!" from a wailing child.
a threat is a threat is a threat, whether it's a swat on the butt, or being made to sit in a chair for a minute per year of age. what does that accomplish? maybe you get (temporary) compliance, but you also get the beginnings of an adversarial relationship based on a fundamental power struggle, and a child that learns that the most important consequence of a certain behavior is the one that pertains negatively to him or herself.
i so do not want that for our family.
on another note, as i was just nursing my little one down to sleep, i was thinking about what the societal ramifications are of this philosophy. if we've come to a point in society that people are doing the right thing based on what's in it for them, that does not bode well for us as a species.
: that is so...SAD to me, it's quite tragic. now that i think about it, there are reminders of it every day. on the highway, the sign to remind us to fasten our seatbelts says "buckle up...it's the law." but we shouldn't fasten our belts because we're loathe to get a ticket and pay a fine, we should do it because it's a safety issue. i don't recycle my cans, glass and plastic because i can get a fine and citation from the sanitation department...i take the time and effort to do it because it's an environmentally sound thing to do, and i do what i can to be a steward of the earth. i don't violate the user agreement here because i'm afraid of getting banned, but because i respect a rule that was set up to protect this community. and i'm not a good person that tries to help other people because i want to ride the glory train to heaven or because some book and a man at a pulpit said so, but because helping others and sharing the abundance of our lives is the right thing to do.
so now that i think on this more, i realize that in fact, i do feel that the answer to the op's question is that time outs are a violent, short sighted and controlling method of trying to elicit compliant behavior in children.
there. i said it.
:i'm ready for the tomatoes.