The Uncuttable Digital Apron Strings

no strings attachedIn this season of New Girl, a character's visiting mother threatens to punish him in an incredibly convincing way: by no longer paying for his cell phone. The character, Winston, is nearing 30-years-old, otherwise financially independent, and living with roommates; but his continued presence on his family plan is more true to life than comic relief. Many Millennials stay on their family cellphone plans and shared entertainment accounts with their parents footing the bill, even when making other steps toward independence.
 
Wall Street Journal article on the subject earlier this week tells us that 29% of parents of 18-to-35-year-olds continue to pay for their cellphone service even after the kids have moved out. Citing everything from empty nest syndrome to enjoying the access to the entertainment preferences of their young ones, the Boomer perspective is clearly laid out: the prolonged family plan keeps the connection to their kids alive. On top of this, the concept of cellphone and entertainment account independence is a completely new arena. Boomers themselves didn't have to contend with this as a right-of-passage, so they may not see cutting digital ties as a necessary step their own kids need to take on the road to adulthood. But how do Millennials feel about keeping their digital apron strings tied tight well into their 20s and 30s? 
 
In his Huffington Post response to the WSJ article, Danny Rubin posits that if your parents are still paying for your cellphone you are not a true adult, and for Millennials who are managing the onslaught of adulthood with a combination of anxiety and procrastination, that might not be such a bad thing. After all, being a grown-up is scary stuff, and even a small continued reliance on family is something of a comfort.
 
But it might not just…

 
 
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Millennial News Feed

Quote of the Day: “I hope to be a good person that can change the world for the better. I want to be an artist and an author and a musician in my free time, and be a veterinarian as my profession.” —Female, 15, WA

Xers and Boomers may look down upon the growing subset of Millennials moving back in with mom and dad, but instead of feeling bad for themselves, these kids are making it work. A closer look at their post-grad lives is being explored in Boomerang Kids—a photojournalist series inspired by one Millennial’s experience of moving back home after draining resources as a photography assistant. The juxtaposition of reaching towards adulthood while still living in their childhood rooms paints a fuller picture of how many are living day-to-day. (Fast Company

Wendy’s may be tainting the comeback of one of their most popular items—the pretzel bun—in a #PretzelLoveSongs commercial being called out for “lazy parodying.” Those who feel nostalgic for the ‘90s hit song “To Be With You” are cringing over the Wendy’s commercial remake, and voicing their extreme distaste on Twitter. Be careful playing with Millennials’ nostalgia, because not taking it seriously could land a brand in hot water. (Uproxx)

How can we make kids exercise more? Since dragging them away from their screens is more difficult than ever, Wokamon is a new app from China that is making kids bring their devices outside and take a walk in order to feed their virtual pets. The cute aliens feed on energy, and the app’s pedometer technology measures steps, distance, and calories that add up to advance pets to new levels and unlock characters. Though targeted to kids, teens and adults can benefit from the app’s fun approach to fitness and sync it with other wearable trackers. (Springwise)

One mom’s open letter to Lands’ End asking why there have been cool science shirts designed for boys but not for girls has quickly gained momentum online with other parents this month, and pushed the brand to launch an entirely new line of science-themed tees for girls who love NASA, sharks, and the like. The brand has been accused of gender stereotyping in the past, and is addressing the posts on its Facebook page directly by rolling out new science-themed styles for girls this fall. (Huffington Post)

Digital versus unplugged is the wedding debate of late, and the line between too tech-centric and being completely disconnected is one that brides and grooms are finding difficult to straddle. Social media is increasingly being used to create wedding albums via couple-specific hashtags, but some couples are so turned off by the near constant focus on camera phones during a wedding that they are enforcing device-free ceremonies. (NYT)

Quote of the Day: "A benefit of unplugging is getting a more personal view of the world back. (Social media tends to distort your perception to bend to what others are thinking/feeling/saying/doing.)” —Female, 25, MN

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