Students contact their parents 13 times a week via text, email, or pho

Barbara Hofer
Middlebury, VT

Social Science Education


Barbara Hofer, PhD
Assoc. Professor of Psychology
Middlebury College
As a psychology researcher, she has found that the “electronic tether” of cell phones and email keeps college students in frequent contact with parents, and can inhibit the students’ development of self-regulation and autonomy.
Interview Language:
On-site Flash/Recording studio available
Contact Information:
Middlebury, VT 05753
United States
Sarah Ray
More contact detail.


Psychology researcher Barbara Hofer has taught at Middlebury College since 1998. In addition to her "electronic tether" research, she investigates how beliefs about knowledge and knowing relate to learning, including how individuals justify what they know, how certain they think knowledge is, and how they decide what sources have credibility.

Hofer has written numerous articles and has edited a book titled “Personal Epistemology: The Psychology of Beliefs about Knowledge and Knowing” (2002). She has also received national awards in both teaching and research, from the American Psychological Association and the American Educational Research Association. Hofer, who specializes in developmental, educational, and cultural psychology, received her undergraduate degree from the University of South Florida, a master’s from Harvard University, and her doctorate from the University of Michigan.

Story Pitch

An electronic tether could tie a young adult to the nest
Cell phones and emails keep college students in contact with parents, but can often inhibit students’ psychological development.
Recent Publications/Appearances


August 23, 2011 The New York Times  "Do We Spend Too Much on Education?"

July 2011  "The iConnected Parent: Staying Close to Your Kids in College (and Beyond) While Letting Them Grow Up"


February 28, 2012 USA Today College / Red& "Mom, are you there? Students call parents 13 times a week"

December 29, 2011 Addison County "The next generation stands tall"

September 27, 2011 "Cutting the electronic umbilical cord"

August 9, 2011 The Huffington Post "Electronic Umbilical Cord"

August 8, 2011 Reader's Digest "What Does 9/11 Have to Do with Going to College"

Jan 25, 2011 The Christian Science Monitor "Facebook is fine, says Pope Benedict, but real faces are better"

Oct 12, 2010 The New York Times "Pressure to Text Mom"

Oct 12, 2010 Auckland Stuff "Facebook stalking your child could stunt their growth"

Sept 28, 2010 Charlotte Observer "Parents need to limit calls, stop e-hovering"

Nov 29, 2007 Vermont Public Radio "Interview with Middlebury College Psychology Professor Barbara Hofer on the 'Electronic Tether'"

Aug 14, 2007 Dallas Morning News "Traveling Hopefully: Parents need to prepare for the challenge of letting go"

Dec 19, 2006 The Washington Post "Do These Pieces Still Fit Together"

Dec 14, 2006 The New York Times "In College, You Can Go Home Again and Again"


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