To help parents keep track of their college offspring, some campuses are adding live web cams at key spots, reports the Christian Science Monitor.
Bereft after moving her son into the freshman dorms at Cornell University a few months ago, Janet Hutchison found herself trawling the college’s website for clues to his new life. A click on the weather link told her that Dan would need a jacket. A click on the chemistry department’s Web page brought up the list of courses he’d have to choose from.
Then she found the school’s “Hi, Mom!” Web cam. With a few taps of the mouse, she could swivel a camera high atop Barnes Tower and zoom in on the granite benches outside the campus store. She giddily called Dan on his cellphone and guided him into position. Then, there was her boy – live, on her computer screen – looking every inch the collegian, in his jeans, polo shirt, and new haircut, blowing kisses to Mom.
. . . At the University of Rochester website, visitors home in on three open-air spots at the student union: the “Hi, Mom! Balcony,” the “Hi, Mom! Bridge,” and the “Hi, Mom! Closeup.”
In my first quarter at college, I didn’t get a phone. I had a single and didn’t want to pay the cost myself. Also, I knew I’d make few calls home because long distance was so expensive. My mother and I exchanged letters.
Nowadays, parents have trouble letting go and technology makes it very easy to keep in touch. Ron Stephany, vice president of university relations at the University of Redlands, says some “helicopter parents” never stop hovering.
“It’s not uncommon to be walking around and [hear] students on their cellphone, and they will literally be saying, ‘Hi, Mom, I just got out of my English class. I’m on my way to lunch.’ “
“By the way, Mom, how are you coming on that essay for my history class?”
Update: The flip side of total connectivity is the plight of “Blackberry orphans.” This story had me doing a parody check: Wall St. Journal, not The Onion. April Fool’s Day? No.