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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Quote of the Day: "I want to be able to have, and provide for, a family in the next 3-4 years.” –Male, 20, NC

The gambling industry is (still) trying to figure out Millennials. While young travellers do seem to like Vegas, they’re not interested in playing slots, and more of their money and attention is going to technically non-gambling activities like fantasy sports. Some casinos are trying out skill-based machines that feel more like video games. According to the CEO of the Global Gaming Association “It's going to be a lot about throwing things up on the wall and seeing what sticks." (CNBC)

Digital natives have naturally integrated tech into their relationships, and teens are using texting and online flirting as a way of “dipping a toe in the ocean of romantic possibility.” But at the same time, in-person interactions remain important: 50% have flirted by friending someone on social media, while 55% have flirted by talking to their romantic interest in person. (The Atlantic)

Evidence that food is the new status symbol continues to mount. New research from Good Food magazine found that 16-24-year-olds in the UK spend more on food than any other age group, with much of that splurging spent on takeout. These young consumers are also spending more on brunch and other restaurant visits than older diners. (Vice Munchies)

Television has traditionally been relatively isolating, especially as an influx of content has made it less likely that everyone is watching the same show at the same time and time shifting has threatened the water cooler moment. But social media is making TV a communal experience again, as actors, writers, and the audience react to episodes in real time together. Social media activity is also an indication of a show’s popularity: Twitter and Nielsen have found that there is a connection between tweet volume and the size of the viewing audience. (NYTimes)

Exercise might seriously improve the mental health of bullied teens. A study from the University of Vermont found a 23% decrease in suicidal thoughts and attempts among bullied students who exercised four or more days a week. While the study doesn’t necessarily prove that exercise reduces sadness and suicidal tendencies, it is “an important first step” in connecting the two. (Common Health)

Quote of the Day: “I don't have kids, so my financial goal is to save the money I need to take the trips I want to take.” –Female, 25, FL

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