Data on Helicopter Parents

Students walking across campus talking on their cells are probably chatting with Mom, survey finds.
March 15, 2007

Everyone talks about "helicopter parents" -- those who hover -- and it turns out they realize that they are much more involved with their children's college lives than their parents were.

A survey of 1,700 parents released Wednesday by College Parents of America found that 30 percent of parents who belong to the group communicate daily with their college children, and that 73 percent communicate with them at least two or three times a week. The survey may not represent college parents on average as those who join the association may by definition be those who are more involved. But the survey does provide a snapshot of involved parents:

  • Mom is more involved than Dad. Of mothers, 33 percent are in daily contact while of fathers, the figure is 20 percent.
  • The cell is the communication method of choice, used frequently by 82 percent of parents, while 50 percent use e-mail frequently. Private college parents appear to be ahead of their public counterparts on using text or instant messages. Snail mail is used frequently by only 5 percent of parents.
  • Asked to identify issues of great concern with regard to their children, parents identified finances, followed by health and safety, academics, career planning and personal relationships.
  • They may be helicopter parents, but there is some self-awareness. Asked to compare their level of involvement with that of their parents when they were in college, 81 percent said that they were more involved, 15 percent said about the same, and only 4 percent said that they were less involved than their parents had been.


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