What Cellphone Calls Say About Parent-Teenager Relations
By RONI CARYN RABIN JULY 1, 2011
Brendan Smialowski for The New York Times
Do cellphones help teenagers feel more independent, or are they an electronic leash? Poor communication is a common complaint when it comes to parents and teenagers. What happens when you throw a cellphone into the mix?
At least 75 percent of American teenagers today have a cellphone, often purchased by their parents so they can stay in closer touch. And parents are more likely than other adults to have a cellphone, for the same reason.
"The phone is now a huge part of parenting. It's how you reach your kids," said Amanda Lenhart, a senior research specialist with the Pew Research Center Internet and American Life project. In a survey conducted in the summer of 2009, nearly 70 percent of teenagers said they talked on the phone with their parents at least once a day.
Now researchers are starting to zero in on how cellphone use affects the dynamic of the parent-child relationship. A paper published online on Monday in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking suggests that both the nature of the calls and who initiates the calls may affect relations.