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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“I’ve been using Apple products for years. Although Samsung technology is probably better, I am so used to Apple that I would probably not switch.”—Female, 18, PA

Major financial institutions are still trying to figure Millennials out, so Prudential conducted a survey to gather some much-needed intel. The Great Recession-era adults are pessimistic about their financial futures: 79% don’t believe that “comfortable retirement” will be a possibility when they’re in their 80s and 70% think “it’s impossible” to save the recommended annual amount to make it possible. Ypulse found that saving for retirement falls behind other, more imminent financial priorities. (MediaPost)

Teens are rallying around the issue of gun control in increasing numbers. A recent survey from Everytown for Gun Safety and Giffords (conducted by Ypulse) found that gun violence prevention is the top issue young people expect the candidate they vote for in 2018 to take a stance on. Six in ten 15-18-year-olds said they’re “’passionate’ about reducing gun violence” and 72% of 15-30-year-olds agreed that politicians who don’t do more to combat gun violence shouldn’t be re-elected. (Mic)

Need proof that the future of STEM is female? Just take a look at children’s drawings. From 1966-1977, researchers asked 5,000 students to draw a scientist, and about 99% of them drew men. Fast forward the same study to 1985-2016, and one-third of children drew a female scientist. But we still have a long way to go to break gender stereotypes: 14-15-year-olds “drew more male than female scientists by an average ratio of 4-to1." (CNN)

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Are Instagram and dating apps “crippling” relationships? Psychotherapist Esther Perel thinks so. Ypulse data shows 27% of 18-35-year-olds have used a dating app, 12% use them weekly, and nearly eight in ten use other social media apps weekly or more often. All that time scrolling past potential partners creates a new kind of loneliness: Instead of feeling “socially isolated,” they’re “experiencing a loss of trust and a loss of capital while you are next to the person with whom you’re not supposed to be lonely.” (Recode)

“We should be nice and good to others because we would want the same in return, being rude to someone doesn't make the situation any better.”—Female, 21, MI

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