Money motivates offspring to call home

April 14, 2006

With communication by mobile phone and other means so easy, a third of US university students now speak with their parents at least once a day. The principal topic of conversation? Money.

This is the finding of a survey answered by more than 800 parents, which was sponsored by the organisation College Parents of America, which said it intended to conduct the study annually.

Three quarters of respondents say they communicate at least twice a week with a son or daughter away at university, and a third have contact at least once a day. Some 10 per cent say they communicated more than once a day in some way.

"Why? I think it is because they care, and they can," James Boyle, president of the association, said. "Today's parents, when their kids go off to college, worry about them and how they're doing academically. Are they spending too much money and are they eating healthily? The technology makes it easy to stay in touch."

Ninety per cent of parents use mobile phones to communicate, while 25 per cent use land lines. Some 60 per cent use e-mail, although parents apparently have yet to discover instant messaging. Most said they never use it.

Most also never use conventional mail. Only 7 per cent of parents communicate by letter.

Some parents like to stay in touch in person. Ninety per cent have attended an orientation programme at their child's university campus. Seventy-five per cent visit in person once or twice a semester and nearly one in five visits once a month or more often.

"Some parents overdo it a bit, I think," Mr Doyle said. If there is a downside to that, he said, "it might be that it keeps the students from developing friendships and spending time on the priorities of studying and learning how to live on their own if they're constantly tethered to their parents". But he added: "The alternative is not good either, where parents are not in touch with their kids at all."

When students call or e-mail home, the topic they most request help or advice about is money, the survey found. The subject of career planning increases in importance as graduation nears.

More than 80 per cent of this generation of parents say they are "more involved" or "much more involved" in their university-age children's daily lives than their parents were in theirs.

Already registered?

Sign in now if you are already registered or a current subscriber. Or subscribe for unrestricted access to our digital editions and iPad and iPhone app.

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Programme Director (GSA Singapore) GLASGOW SCHOOL OF ART

Register to continue  

You've enjoyed reading five THE articles this month. Register now to get five more, or subscribe for unrestricted access.

Most Commented

  • Boats docked in Port Hercule, Monaco

Richard Murphy praises a bold effort to halt tax-dodging by the 1 per cent

It’s a question with no easy answer, finds James Derounian

  • James Fryer illustration (19 November 2015)

With no time for proper peer review and with grade inflation inevitable, one academic felt compelled to resign

  • Lisa Mckenzie, Class War Party candidate, Chingford

Anarchist academic reflects on what her recent brush with the law says about threats to academic freedom

  • Worker checks thin-film silicon solar module, Truebbach

Asia doubles representation while European countries face varied performance