Is Tech Keeping Families Connected Or Holding Back The Normal Growing Up Process

from the both? dept

A point-counterpoint debate over at USA Today is looking at the issue of our increasingly connected lives. It used to be that when a kid went off to college they “cut the cord” with their parents somewhat and started to learn how to live on their own. The process might have been tough for one or both sides, but in the end it all worked out. Now, with communications technology so pervasive, some are saying the ease of continued communication over long distances is helpful. It keeps families in touch and makes difficult transitions much less traumatic. On the other side comes the argument that this constant digital umbilical cord hinders a kid’s ability to grow up and to learn to take responsibility for his or her own actions. The reality is probably somewhere in the middle. In some ways it’s great for keeping families in touch, and in some ways it becomes a crutch. In both cases, people should learn the limits of these technologies, and the importance of disconnecting, as well as staying in regular contact.

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Is Tech Keeping Families Connected Or Holding Back The Normal Growing Up Process”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
dorpus says:


The USA is fairly unique among world cultures for their belief that 18-year-olds should become absolutely independent from their families, and any assistance or attachment after that is considered a great shame. (In reality, a lot of 30- and 40-year-old Americans do borrow money or live with their parents, but that’s besides the point.) It has to do with the frontier mentality here, in which new housing is assumed to be affordable for young people.

On the opposite extreme, we have cultures like Italy where 3 generations routinely share the same home, and 40-year-olds routinely depend on their mothers to wash their underwear for them, have them send it in the mail.

However, economic trends alone are making multi-generation co-habitation an increasing reality in the USA. Home ownership, often even renting by themselves, is a dream for most young people in big cities. The increase in immigrant cultures (Hispanic, etc.) is also increasing the population of people who find such practices acceptable.

It’s been my experience that young people who boast about “independence” usually live close to their parents anyway. I’ve met very few people who can claim (like myself) that they live 8,000 miles from the closest family member.

Digital Umbilical cords ... says:

Digital Umbilical cords ...

In today’s fragmented society I’m thankful for the opportunity to be able to text , cell & email my ” parental units ” & siblings …
Having a technically literate family is a blessing.
If anything I believe it has kept us as a closer knit nuclear family than many of my friends and coworkers whose families are not technically literate.
Even @ 35, I’ll never stop asking my ” rents ” to share their knowledge & experiences …
Call me immature, but technology allows me @ the spur of the moment to tell my family I love them …

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...