The Technological Umbilical Cord: Do students really leave home anymore?

Two books, The iConnected Parent: Staying Close to Your Kids in College (and Beyond) While Letting Them Grow Up (2010) and Generation on a Tightrope: A Portrait of Today’s College Student (2012) provide the foundation for a recent NPR story “Phone Home: Tech Draws Parents, College Kids Closer.”

Connected Parents

Whether teacher, administrator, student, or parent, you’ve got stories about the way cell phone use is, or has, changed the high school and college experience.

Reporter Reema Khrais draws on these two studies and her reporting to paint a picture of parent-child connectedness that persists not just into and through college generally but seemingly throughout each and every day.

“College students communicate with their parents on average 13.4 times a week, says Barbara Hofer, a psychology professor at Vermont’s Middlebury College and co-author of The iConnected Parent: Staying Close to Your Kids in College (and Beyond) While Letting Them Grow Up.

A more recent study illustrates similar parent-child trends. Research featured in Generation on a Tightrope: A Portrait of Today’s College Student by Arthur Levine and Diane Dean shows that about 40 percent of college students are in touch with parents by phone, email, text or visit at minimum once a day.”(NPR)

Connectedness has become the norm with colleges dedicating resources like, “offices of parent services.”(NPR)

I’m not living or working on a boarding school campus right now, but I’ve seen the connectedness in my visits to campuses. Parts of the ever-connectedness seem beneficial, but some pieces such as focus on daily minutia seem detrimental.

Jon Gould, author of How to Succeed in College (While Really Trying) explained to reporter Khrais:

“One thing that’s different about the generation of parents and kids today is that they grew up for the most part liking one another…And that’s different than … the baby boomers that grew up rebelling against their parents.”(NPR)

I’m a post baby boomer; but I still didn’t want to take my folks to college with me.

Gone are the days when you called home once a week while you were in school. And then, if you missed a call or two you might get the cryptic message, “call your mother.”

I can’t help but think that being disconnected produced some growth and changes in one that go missing when perpetually connected.

What do you think?

Do any readers have comments, or observations about how connectedness is playing out on boarding school campuses?

Brian Fisher

A product of both private and public education, Brian Fisher served as a teacher, coach, dorm parent, and administrator at three different boarding schools. Brian also fills the role of Director of Development at Wolfeboro, The Summer Boarding School, in NH along with being a partner at AdmissionsQuest.

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