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Once upon if you broke the rules you got grounded and couldn’t hang out with your friends. Not these days.

Thanks to social media making the online world a teen hangout. Parents now need to think outside the box and look at grounding their kids by cutting off access to social media instead.

But that punishment might not have its desired effect – and could even have some harmful consequences for teenagers, according to a new study recently published, shares Chicago Tribune.

Teens forced to take a break from social media lose more than just a few days gossiping with friends, according to research funded and conducted by the University of Chicago’s independent research organization, NORC.

In partnership with the Associated Press, the researchers surveyed 790 teenagers about whether they’d ever taken a break from social media by choice or by force.

“The side effect of that is taking away from potential emotional support and from access to information,” said Amanda Lenhart, the study’s lead researcher and an expert on social media behavior. “That’s not just what’s happening in friends’ lives, which is one component, but also hard news, current events and that type of information.”

Grounding a child from social media has an immediate impact. But the survey suggests that it may have a more negative effect than parents realize.

The 38 percent of teens who were forced to take a break were more likely to report being anxious about being away from social media and more likely to increase their social media postings after being allowed back on their networks.

Twenty-three percent of teens in the study said that they would like to take a break from social media but feel they can’t because of the effect it would have on their social lives and on their schoolwork and extracurricular activities.

Coaches and teachers often communicate about practices, assignments or other information through social media. Being cut off from their digital social networks cuts teens off from that important information, as well.

Overall, Lenhart said, she hopes that the study sheds a little more light on how deeply embedded social media is into a modern teenager’s life and reminds parents of exactly what they’re cutting off when they take away social media as part of a punishment.

“It’s not simple. It’s not just where teens are hanging out with friends,” she said. “There are a lot of layers around social media use, and it’s important for everyone to realize there’s more there than meets the eye.”

MoM says

Actually this is very true. My teenage son is not really big on using social media or his mobile phone for that matter. But his sports training and other school notices are often communicated through apps, Facebook groups and texts. Which of course as parents we manage. But if it were all up to him (as it may be in the future) he would miss a lot of information if he were to lose that access.

It is pretty crazy really.  Long gone are the good old school notes!

Have you punished your children by cutting them off from social media?

Share your comments below.

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  • uh teach your kids to be different then? why be a sheep? the world actually existed before social media was a thing and somehow we managed to get it to this point in time? maybe they will learn to manage things better

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  • this is a very tricky area for parents , I don’t have kids of this age but wary about this issues as many of my friends tell of their difficulties with over exposure to social media and dangers of it . you have to make children exposed to all situations from a young age and involved in a wide range of activities so they can have varied interest

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  • Nice idea that the privilege of using social media is a ‘consequence’. I think it has a place as a tool in parenting teenagers. It is a worry that legitimate sports info and even school info might be missed (depending on the duration of the ban) but there are ways around this – like the child having to request the coach/teacher communicate in other ways for the period. Perhaps of greater difficulty is the ‘addictive’ nature of social media. Removing a child from social media privileges might be a ‘cold turkey’ exercise that does leave them more cranky, moody, depressed etc. than expected and perhaps even in need of medical help! So something to bear in mind if you do use it as a tool in your situation.

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  • That Coaches and teachers often communicate about practices, assignments or other information through social media, is an concerning idea. And so when we ground our kids from social media we cause them being cut off from their digital social networks and that important information ? Coaches and teachers can and should find different ways to communicate with our children me thinks.

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  • This is ridiculous. Whether because of being grounded or not, everyone should take breaks from social media. It is too addictive and unhealthy.

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  • How do parents monitor the safe use of mobile phones when the children are allowed to have them with no restrictions? As a child / teenager If I persisted in doing what I had been asked not to do, often something was confiscated, the length time depended on how serious the issue was. Parents should also be sent dates and times their child has to be taken to in advance as much as the child is.

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