As kids prepare to head back to college, or go off for the first time, parents are getting ready to say their goodbyes–and upping their data plans. The Los Angeles Times reports that going to college post-9/11 is much different than it was 10 years ago. The teary goodbyes may be the same, but 10 minutes down the road parents or kids are bound to hear the tell-tale alert of a text message, phone call, or even iPhone Face Time. These days parents and kids are able to be in touch nearly 24/7.
The post-9/11 world has led to an understandable rise in anxiety on the part of both parents and their college-age children. Kids going to school now were still in elementary school when the terrorist attacks occurred and parents and kids are naturally concerned about being separated. However, some experts say that the possibility of constant contact could be hindering the development of a natural healthy distance between parent and child. “[College students] may not know what to do with time and solitude,” said Barbara Hofer, a Middlebury College psychology professor and author with Abigail Sullivan Moore of the book The iConnected Parent. What’s more, the students never really separate from their parents enough to make their own decisions.
A survey conducted at two colleges showed that parents and students were in contact an average of 13 times a week. Some argue that the contact is doing nothing more than strengthening the lifelong bond of parent and child, and in most ways is simply a sign of changing times. Whatever the psychological effect, as the 10 year anniversary of 9/11 rolls around, more parents will be happy they have the ability to be in such close contact with their child when her or she is no longer home for dinner every night. What do you think? Is constant contact hindering your child’s growth or merely serving to ease your fears?