Childrearing

Rising College Tuition Costs Can Create Helicopter Parents Too

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Watching a mother supervise her toddler’s every move is nauseating enough, but parents keeping constant tabs on their collegiate students is a new development — even for helicopter parents. An article in The Los Angeles Times describes that with today’s cell phones, 24/7 internet access, and social media, parents don’t have to say goodbye to their college-bound kid. While there are those parents who do like to say goo night to their kids every night via text, the articles alludes to the fact that with rising costs in tuition many parents are just unwilling to let their kids screw up.

Mary MacVean observes:

From the electronic grade monitoring many high schools offer parents, it seems a small leap to keep electronic track of their (adult) children’s schedules or to send reminders about deadlines or assignments. Professors have figured out that some kids are emailing papers home for parents to edit. And Skype and Facebook might be more than just chances to see a face that’s missed at home; parents can peer into their little darling’s messy dorm room or his messy social life.

Sherry Turkle, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology whose specialty is technology and relationships, points out that many of today’s college kids have never had what has defined adolescence in previous generations: independence. With so much micromanaging and fevered texting, many parents with good intentions are not allowing their children to develop the skills necessary for adulthood such as time management or personal initiative. Given how much money parents have to put on the line nowadays for college — and considering how little most college students are learning — it’s understandable that many parents are just trying to get their money’s worth. But if your adult child needs a text from home to remind them to turn in that paper, chances are that they’re not.