Are Helicopter Parents Destroying Mobility for Young Americans?

A recent post by Paul Mackie takes inspiration from a new book called "It's Complicated" to explore how parents might be driving teens further into technology-enabled isolation and torpidity.
May 29, 2014, 6am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Paul Mackie explores the findings of a recent book by Danah Boyd called It's Complicated: The Lives of Networked Teens. The book identifies finds trends of "fearful, lurking" parents limiting transportation and mobility options for young people. In fact, "[parents] are often pushing their children towards having virtual relationships due to their clamp down on the mobility freedoms most of us probably enjoyed in our own youth."

An excerpt from the book makes the point: "From wealthy suburbs to small towns, teenagers reported that parental fear, lack of transportation options, and heavily structured lives restricted their ability to meet and hang out with their friends face to face. Even in urban environments, where public transportation presumably affords more freedom, teens talked about how their parents often forbade them from riding subways and buses out of fear."

The book also makes the point that many young people are adopting their parents' fearful world views, self-policing their mobility despite evidence that the world is a safer place than it was for previous generations. Mackie makes an additional point that in many places, to be a teen and in public is mostly illegal, with "countless freedom-crushing curfews and loitering laws" enacted around the country.

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Published on Tuesday, May 27, 2014 in Mobility Lab
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