RSS Feed

Related Articles

Related Categories

Students use the internet to keep in touch with parents

17th September 2010 Print

As thousands of young people prepare to fly the nest for university this week, a new study by Endsleigh, student insurance provider, has revealed an emerging generation of internet-savvy students and parents is significantly changing the way families are now keeping in touch.

According to the study, parents rely heavily on social media platforms like Facebook to keep tabs on their children once they've left home, with 75% admitting to regularly checking their profiles to see what they've been up to. However interestingly, only 36% of the 18-25 year olds surveyed are actually friends with their parents on Facebook and almost three quarters (72%) deliberately choose not to be as they do not want their parents seeing personal pictures and messages.

The study also shows that 72% of 18-25 year olds who have left home now use the internet to communicate with their parents - 36% via email, 23% use social media and 13% Skype.  Mobile phones are almost as popular to keep in touch, with 70% using their handsets to call home and 60% to send text messages to their parents.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, only 7% of young people use post to keep in touch with their parents, which has reduced considerably from previous generations - 25% of 45+ year old parents surveyed in the same study used post to stay in touch when their parents when they first left home.

When it comes to working out how to do basic household tasks, young people are becoming increasingly independent and self-reliant, with 44% of 18-25 year olds choosing to use self-help websites such as YouTube or VideoJug to find out how to boil an egg, work a washing machine or iron a shirt, compared to  only 20% contacting home.

However despite the rise in usage of the internet and social media, young people are getting more homesick than ever - 62% of the 18-25 years surveyed confessed to missing home when they first left, compared to 55% of the 45+ year olds who were asked the same question about when they first left home.

Young people still need the emotional support of parents, with 67% confess that the main reason they contact home for a general catch up. Surprisingly, only 13% of the young people survey contact home to ask for money.

Commenting on the findings, Relationship Expert Christine Webber said: "These days parents are becoming less anxious about their kids flying the nest as there are so many different ways to keep in touch, but they must be careful not to invade their privacy by checking up on them too much. However it seems nothing can replace the comfort of the human voice, which is why so many students still need to ring home for a regular catch up."

Aaron Porter, NUS President added: "The internet and social media have become indispensible tools for students for both study and for life, but they are clearly no substitute for human contact at what is often a time of upheaval, during which many feel homesick. Access to a computer or laptop is increasingly becoming essential as a way of keeping in contact with family, so it is all the more important that those essential items are protected. Parents can often help achieve peace of mind by ensuring insurance cover and anti-virus software are covered, reducing worry at an already stressful time."

Endsleigh's student possession report published last month revealed that every student surveyed returning to university for the start of the new term will be taking either a laptop (94%) or a desktop computer (6%) with them. The same study also showed that today's students carry over £1,300 worth of goods on them on their person around town and campus.