The big deadline for high school seniors to choose a college has passed, and parents’ thoughts are turning toward the joy of less laundry or the agony of how to pay the bills — and perhaps toward how much they’ll be in touch with their sons and daughters come September.
It was not so long ago that parents drove a teenager to campus, said a tearful goodbye and returned home to wait a week or so for a phone call from the dorm. Mom or Dad, in turn, might write letters — yes, with pens. On stationery.
But going to college these days means never having to say goodbye, thanks to near-saturation of cell phones, eMail, 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.