Originally published: June 23, 2011
Last updated: June 23, 2011 - 7:23pm
Going to college these days means never having to say goodbye, thanks to near-saturation of cell phones, e-mail, instant messaging, texting, Facebook, and Skype.
Researchers are looking at how new technology might be delaying the point at which college-bound students truly become independent from their parents, and how phenomena such as the introduction of unlimited calling plans have changed the nature of parent-child relationships -- and not always for the better. Some research suggests that today’s young adults are closer to their parents than their predecessors. But it’s complicated. Sherry Turkle, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology whose specialty is technology and relationships, calls this a particular sort of “Huck Finn moment,” in which Huck “takes his parents with him. We all sail down the Mississippi together.” 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 e-mailing papers home for parents to edit.
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