Not so long ago, teenagers in trouble got grounded. They lost their evenings out, maybe the keys to the family car. But lately the art of family discipline has begun to reflect our digital age.
Now parents seize cellphones, shut down Facebook pages, pull the plug on PlayStation.
That’s how it went in Silver Spring last school year, when Iantha Carley’s high-schooler got a midterm grade report that contained letters of the alphabet that were not A, B or C.
Carley decreed there would be no more Facebook until he delivered a report card with better grades. The result: six weeks offline. “He lived,” Carley reports, “with no lasting damage.”
Her approach has become increasingly common as technology has changed so much about growing up, including what teenagers value most. For the digital generation, the priority isn’t always going out with friends. It’s being with them – in text, online.