Study Finds Parents of Students More Involved

When his cellphone rings, Dylan Kitzan’s thumb automatically presses the glowing green “accept” button. A familiar female voice asks about his day.

It’s his mom.

“I talk to her everyday,” Kitzan said. And according to a survey conducted by the College Parents of America, he is not alone.

The survey enlisted 839 parents and questioned them on the number of times they are in contact with their children. It concluded that parental involvement is becoming more and more prevalent on college campuses, with 74 percent of parents communicating with their child two to three times per week. Of those 74 percent, one in three contacted their child at least once a day.

With the advent of cell phones, e-mail and instant messaging the ease in which families can stay in touch is almost effortless. According to the survey, “An overwhelming majority, 90 percent, said they used cell phones to keep in touch, and 58 percent frequently used e-mail to correspond with their children.”

Kitzan’s method of choice in communicating with his mom is through the computer. “I talk to my mom through instant messaging four to five days a week,” he said.

Kevin Smith-Orn, from Bremerton, Wash., said that he talks to his mom and dad daily. His parents, though, are usually the ones to initiate the call. “I only call them once a week,” he said.

Calls and e-mails are not the only method of communication on the rise. Campus visits have also begun to increase. The survey found that 75 percent of parents visited the campus at least once or twice a semester and 17 percent stopped by once a month or more.

Smith-Orn’s parents, however, are not among the frequent campus visitors. “It’s a six-hour drive for my parents,” he said. Similarly, he only goes home to visit three times a year.

These parents who are constantly in touch with their students have earned the nickname “helicopter parents” because of their hovering habits. And admittedly some students are finding their persistent presence a bit of a nuisance.

With a roll of his eyes, Kitzan commented, “My parents are more involved than I want them to be.”