Dear Mum and Dad: please call me at university

Fri Oct 2, 2009 9:01am EDT
 
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LONDON (Reuters Life!) - Nearly a quarter of British university students starting to live away from home would like their parents to call them once a day, a new study suggests.

As new students get through "Freshers' Week," the survey of 256 attending or going to attend university commissioned by the T-Mobile phone operating company showed that 24.6 percent of them wanted the folks to call every day, with women ahead of men in terms of their desire for parental contact.

Child psychologist and parenting expert Pat Spungin said it is natural to want to speak to children who have left home for the first time, but there was a fine balance between letting them know you're there and being overprotective.

"A good rule for parents to follow is to call their children at a pre-agreed time once or twice a week and then use email or texts for any other communication during the week," Spungin said in a statement with the poll.

Parents who wanted to avoid being overbearing might consider email or text messages -- preferred method of male students (22.4 percent) -- as a form of staying in touch and using social networking sites such as Facebook or following their children's feeds on micro-blogging site Twitter.

Other suggested tips for parents who want to have contact while respecting the new-found independence of their offspring included sending food parcels, avoiding morning phone calls when they might still be sleeping and resisting the temptation to visit without plenty of notice.

(Reporting by Paul Casciato; Editing by Steve Addison)