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…

 
 

Want to talk to us about the article
or dive into a custom study?


Millennial News Feed

Quote of the Day: “My favorite app is Snapchat, because it offers quick messaging with a time limit that ensures privacy while being highly entertaining.”—Female, 20, FL 

If you want to know what teens are doing online, don’t ask their parents. A survey by the National Cyber Security Alliance found that 60% of 13-17-year-olds have a secret online account they say their parents know nothing about, while only 27% of parents suspect their kids have one. This statistic will likely worry parents who are increasingly monitoring online behavior. About 67% of parents say they have a rule in place for kids to be open with them about any “sort of uncomfortable or scary incidents that occur online,” however only 32% of teens surveyed say that such a rule exists in their household. (CNET)

Millennials around the are not only passionate about global issues, but ready to take them on. A World Economic Forum survey found that seven in ten 18-35-year-olds see abundant opportunities for themselves and their peers to tackle global issues, and half believe they have decision making power in their home countries. When the WEF asked about the three most serious issues affecting the world today, Millennials had the same response as the year before: religious conflicts came in third with 33.8% of responses, large scale conflict and wars came in second with 38.5% of responses, and climate change and destruction of natural resources was the top response with 45.2% of respondents. (Business Insider)

Outlet malls are thriving, and it’s all thanks to men and thrifty Millennials. According to Cowen & Co.’s latest Consumer Tracker Survey, outlet visitation by 18-34-year-old men reached a new peak of 44% in July, most likely due to male preference for brand stores over department retailers. Overall Millennial visitation is also up: on average, 31% of 18-34-year-old women and 35% of 18-34-year-old men say they visited an outlet mall every month between December 2012 and July 2016. An analyst of NPD Group attributes the trend to frugal Millennials who would rather save their cash for experiences. (MarketWatch

Teenage girls with depression or anxiety “are less alone than ever.” The Department of Education has revealed that these mental illnesses are a slowly growing epidemic among teen girls in England: about one third report having depression or anxiety, a 10% increase over the last decade. Social media pressure, bullying, and unrealistic body expectations are all cited as factors, which have especially effected young girls all over the world. In America, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reports that teen girls are three times more likely to be depressed than their male counterparts. (Teen Vogue)

Instagram has made connecting with consumers even easier for brands. The platform’s new “contact” button allows users to call, text, or email brands through their profiles. According to a social media specialist, “social…is a brand’s first line of defense—both for reputation management and customer service,” and the new button eliminates the hassle of having to respond to each individual comment. Brands like Nordstrom, Delta, and Denny’s are already utilizing the new feature. (Digiday

Quote of the Day: “My favorite app is Pokémon Go, because it's kinda a big deal for those of us who've been dreaming about it for over a decade.”—Female, 21, NJ 

Sign Up Now

Subscribe for premium access to our content, data, and tools.

Already a subscriber? Sign in.

Upgrade Now

Upgrade for full access to the best marketing tools for understanding the next generation.

View our Client Case Studies