[telecom] What Cellphone Calls Say About Parent-Teenager Relations

What Cellphone Calls Say About Parent-Teenager Relations


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.


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