Cutting the Cord in the Digital Age

I received this post on my Facebook wall from my daughter Ariana, a sophomore at UT Austin:
You wrote a blog post about Aaron (my son) .... I have yet to see one about me. :( 
So Ariana, this one's for you!

In today's digital age, parents who send their kids off to college have the ability to stay connected like never before. With e-mail, texting, Facebook, Skype, and other tools, we can digitally hover over our kids as if they were still in their bedrooms at home. With Ariana, we can check her daily progress on Facebook. We can Skype with her face-to-face like she's in the room with us. On occasion, I proofread her papers by sharing her computer screen.

When "our generation" left for college, there were no cell phones, there was no Internet. An occasional collect call home (and the occasional visit to wash our clothes) were our only check-ins with the home front. We were "free" to experience life on our own. If we had our roommates trained right, they knew to tell our parents we were "at the library" anytime they called the dorm.

As parents in the digital age, letting go of our kids -  letting them live their own life and mature through the college experience - is not easy. Somehow, we have got to cut those strings and let them live their lives. As much as I'd like to hold on to my daughter (and son) forever, I know I've got to give her room to grow, and that includes giving her digital space as well.

Don't get my wrong, I'm not going to stop Skyping, texting, emailing, or Facebooking completely with her. She's too important to me to go cold turkey. But I will be conscience of the fact that she's growing up and I'll do my best to at least loosen the digital umbilical cord.

There's a book that I've been meaning to read for quite some time and this experience has spurred me to download it. The book is "The iConnected Parent: Staying Close to Your Kids in College (and Beyond) While Letting Them Grow Up' by Hoffer and More. I'll start reading soon and post what I find. Check back soon.

You too, Ariana. :)


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