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Whoa, Momma!

Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Tracey Henry and Suzannah DiMarzio

Is social media another way for parents to hover?



A Cornell professor and author of Don’t Tell Me What To Do, Just Send Money, has a back to school tip for parents: Lay off the tweeting and texting your kids.
Christine Schelhas-Miller, Cornell University senior lecturer in the College of Human Ecology, says the kids are getting more and more helpless because of it.

“Unlike a decade ago, parents and college students have contact with each other an average of 13 times a week using texting, Skype, Facebook and other social media. This is having both positive and negative effects," Schelhas-Miller said. “While increased contact often reflects better relationships between students and parents, it also provides parents the opportunity to manage their children’s day-to-day lives and can prevent their children from growing up.

“As a faculty member, parents call me when their children are dissatisfied with grades, and it’s become all too common to find parents editing students’ papers.  My advice to parents is to change their roles from supervisors to consultants, or risk having children who graduate without the skills to make decisions, solve problems and take responsibility for their own lives.”

I'm wondering if this is advice parents of younger children should keep in mind, too. Increasingly I'm finding parents unwilling to let kids in their teens walk home from school or venture out without constant contact. Obviously, they are trying to prevent disaster, but I would suggest it's a good thing to get lost and have to figure your way in the world, to make decisions without backup.

--Sharon Kennedy Wynne

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[Last modified: Tuesday, July 19, 2011 9:30am]


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