The Helicopter Circles Facebook and the Landing Isn’t Pretty

ABC News reported yesterday that an increasing number of {helicopter} parents were contacting college officials to request roommate changes for their freshman children because they found the prospective roommate’s Facebook profile objectionable.

And what exactly do they find objectionable?

According to the article “party related content and photos” concerns parents at The College of New Jersey while parents at Syracuse University apparently are more concerned with race, religion and sexual orientation; the parents at Suffolk University ranked “sexual orientation” as a top concern.

Facebook began allowing high school students in to the previously college students only social network in September of 2005. By the onset of the next school year, the New York Times reported a new phenomena at various colleges and universities….parents checking out Facebook to see “who” their child’s college roommate was as expressed by their Facebook profile. Ah, but it didn’t start and stop with mere curiosity.

It also didn’t start or stop with concerns that a Facebook party animal would make an inappropriate roommate…. “race, religion, and sexual orientation are the top three concerns?”

Parents, into your helicopters; man your stations. Call the school! Our child can’t have a roommate that is ummmm, well, different from us.

What’s up with that?

Should we Blame Mr. Rogers?

According to Jeffrey Zaslow of the Wall Street Journal, Mr. Rogers’ message that children were special just for being whoever they were, is to blame for the sense of entitlement he believes young people seem to have. He quotes a finance professor, Don Chance, at Louisiana State University, who decided that Mr. Rogers was responsible for the students who came to his office feeling entitled to a better grade, “He {Mr. Rogers} is representative of a culture of excessive doting.”

OK, maybe that explains the parental interference, but Mr. Rogers welcomed everyone to his neighborhood.

Research on Millennials (born 1977-1998) indicates that these kids are closer to their parents than any previous generation.Their parents hovered early and hovered often and there has always been constant connection via mobiles and email. OK, let’s blame technology.

An article in Duke Magazine titled Helicopter Parents, indicated that according to a survey by the College Parents of America, 74% of parents talked to their kids 2-3 times a week and one third talked to their kids once a day; 90% used cell phones and 58% used email. From being buckled into car seats and bike helmets, to scheduled play dates, the Millenials have been constantly supervised and instead of feeling smothered, they apparently report that they feel very close to their parents.

In fact, these helicopter parents are landing everywhere…colleges, grad schools and work. The Wall Street Journal reported in March 2006 that the same parents who “mowed down the guidance and admissions offices” are increasingly seeking to intercede on their children’s behalves in the workplace….calling to negotiate pay and inquire about the working environment.

Anastasia Goodstein
, writing in the Huffington Post about parents monitoring college roommates on Facebook calls it, Helicopter Parents Gone Wild. Indeed.

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