TIME Family

6 Insulting Terms for Adults Who Live With Their Parents

yubomojao—Getty Images/Flickr Select

More often than not, the phrases coined to describe the rising ranks of grown adults living with their parents are subtle backhanded insults. And sometimes the insults aren’t subtle at all. Here are a handful of phrases that have popped up in recent years to categorize the millions of adults who live with their parents—typically moving back home for financial reasons after living on their own for a few years, or perhaps a few decades.

“Boomerang Generation”
This is probably the most common (and also probably the least offensive) phrase for describing the legions of young Americans in their mid-20s to mid-30s who have moved back in with their parents after a stint of independent living. A 2012 Pew Research Center study focused on this increasingly large group—report title: “The Boomerang Generation”—indicated that while a majority were frustrated they didn’t have enough money to live the life they wanted, most were also happy with their living arrangements bunking with mom and dad once again.

Members of this special breed of boomerang offspring are not only old enough to live independently, but also old enough to have adult children of their own. Essentially, they’re middle-aged Baby Boomers who have fallen on times so tough that they’ve been forced to move back in with their elderly parents, who are likely to be retired and perhaps not in the best financial condition themselves. The rise of “boomerangers” was understandably noticeable during the heyday of the Great Recession in 2009, and the unfortunate trend hasn’t gone away. Just this week the Los Angeles Times ran a story on the increase in adults in California ages 50 to 64 who have moved back home with mom and/or dad—a 68% rise from 2007 to 2012.

Earlier this year, Le Monde attempted to chronicle the rise of this trend in France, a task that proved difficult because “middle-aged people who live with their parents are often ashamed,” and few were willing to speak about their first-hand experiences.

(MORE: Being 30 and Living With Your Parents Isn’t Lame — It’s Awesome!)

It’s no coincidence that many “Boomerangers” also have another (insulting) label slapped on them: “Unemployables.” As CNN Money noted, because workers in their 50s who lost their jobs in recent years were less likely than younger people to subsequently become re-employed, a Boston College study dubbed them the “new unemployables.”

“Go-Nowhere Generation”
This phrase is largely credited to a New York Times op-ed that encouraged young Americans to move to hop on a Greyhound bus and move to a state with low unemployment, such as North Dakota. The column’s authors wrote that they expected few to follow that advice, because “young people are too happy at home checking Facebook,” among other reasons. “Generation Y has become Generation Why Bother,” the op-ed sums up.

A Clark University professor’s research into young adults who have no good job prospects and no clear career path—and who of course still live with their parents—refers to them as “growing-ups,” as well as the more positive “emerging adults.”

“Failed Fledglings”
Leave it to the United Kingdom to come up with this humdinger. According to a survey published last summer, some three million parents over age 50 had grown children living at home—a category the poll called “failed fledglings.” A corresponding 16-page “Parent Motivators” booklet was published in order to help parents cope with adult kids back in the nest, and the contents reportedly included “tips about how to get rid of children who you would prefer to have moved out.”

(MORE: This Is AT&T’s Plan to Smother Google Fiber)

“Parasite Single”
Masahiro Yamada, a sociology professor at Tokyo Gakugei University, came up with this lovely phrase to describe Japanese women (men too, but it’s mostly women) in their 20s and 30s who grew up in the ’80s and ’90s and had decent jobs—but were considered parasitic because they never got married, hadn’t yet had children, and lived a carefree consumerist lifestyle under their parents’ roofs. Interestingly, news outlets noted a widespread effort to marry parasite singles off in Japan via dating services and old-fashioned family matchmaking in the late ’00s—about the same time that the Great Recession was wreaking havoc across the globe, sending tens of millions of adult children boomeranging back into their parents’ homes.

TIME medicine

Study: Children Given Codeine in ER Despite Risks

Too many kids are getting codeine in emergency rooms, say the authors of a new study, which estimates that at least half-a-million children receive prescriptions each year

The painkiller codeine is prescribed to kids in at least half-a-million emergency room visits, a new study suggests, despite recommendations in place to limit its use among children.

Only 3% of children’s ER trips in 2010 resulted in a codeine prescription, but with kids making 25 million ER visits each year, authors of the study say too many children are getting the opiate, the Associated Press reports.

The study, published Monday in Pediatrics, analyzed national data from 2000 to 2010 on emergency room visits by children between the ages of 3 to 17. The study’s authors say the annual number of visits that led to codeine prescriptions ranged from approximately 560,000 to 877,000, though the frequency of codeine treatment slightly declined during the study.

A pediatric drug expert told the AP that codeine use has likely declined further since the study ended after last year’s strict warning from the Food and Drug Administration about the drug’s risks and possible complications.


TIME Gadgets

Sprint Launches WeGo Phone for Kids

On Friday, Sprint announced the launch its new kid-friendly Sprint WeGo phone, a low-cost starter device for ages 5 to 12 that offers plenty of parental controls and tracking features.

“Sprint WeGo is the perfect starter phone to give parents peace of mind while teaching kids responsibility – how to keep track of a device, charge it and care for it – at a low price,” said Sprint VP of Product David Owens in a company press release. “This device has all of the basics without anything younger children don’t need just yet.”

ZTE WeGo Kids Phone

The simplistic, water-resistant WeGo allows you to program up to 20 trusted phone numbers for your child to contact and be contacted by. It also offers 50 pre-programmed outgoing text message options (“yes,” “no,” “Call me please,” and the like) and a corded panic alarm that sends you an instant SMS notification with your child’s location.

Parents, meanwhile, get a large number of tracking and safety features. Built-in GPS lets you immediately find or track your child at any time. You can also get low battery alerts, SMS read receipts, abduction (speed) alerts and wake alerts (if your child isn’t up and moving in the morning by a certain time) sent directly to you by SMS message or email.

There are no fancy smartphone features or apps on this child-friendly phone, but that’s part of why service for the device is so inexpensive. Sprint WeGo service starts at $9.99 per month, which includes 1,000 minutes of talk and 1,000 text messages. The phone itself can be purchased for $0 down and 24 monthly payments of $5.

For more on the Sprint WeGo, visit the company’s website. For more on deciding when to hand a child his or her first phone, check out the results of this recent Microsoft parenting survey and Techlicious’ Is Your Child Ready for a Smartphone quiz.

This article was written by Fox Van Allen and originally appeared on Techlicious.

More from Techlicious:


A 5-Year-Old’s Black-and-White View of Race

A 5-Year-Old's Black-and-White View of Race
Kerstin Geier—Getty Images/Gallo Images ROOTS Collection

My daughter doesn't see race ... yet.

“Daddy, you have to pick Taylor up from school so she can take theater class with me!” Penny implored. Taylor is her good friend. Wait. I take that back. According to Penny, “she’s my sister.”

I had already talked about it with Taylor’s mom and let her know it would be my pleasure. Penny was nervous about the class, and having a friend there would make it easier for both of us.

Upon hearing the news, Penny let out a loud “Yay!” followed by a pause. “Taylor’s not actually my sister,” she whispered.

And this is when I really started to pay attention. I took a deep breath and waited for what was about to come. Our family is white. Taylor’s family is black. Penny is 5 years old and not exactly known for her subtlety. I knew a lesson in political correctness was coming, and I was mentally preparing for the conversation.

I wasn’t expecting a gleeful “Actually, we’re twin sisters!”

We would all like to think we’re color-blind, but I did not have a clue what that cliché really meant until I heard Penny say those words. Obviously, I was touched by the sentiment, but in retrospect, maybe I should not have been that surprised.

Penny attends a racially diverse school. It is not uncommon for hers to be the lone white face running around with a tight-knit clique of Indian girls, whose families knew each other prior to pre-K. Penny bonded with them over a mutual adoration of pretty dresses and Disney princess. These girls love sparkles, so Penny loves these girls. They have everything in common 5-year-olds could want and are oblivious to any dissimilarities in skin tone.

When Penny describes any of her friends it’s usually by what they were wearing that particular day. This is not very helpful in determining who she’s talking about, but it is endearing. Beauty may be skin deep, but Penny does not seem to get quite that far when she sees people.

When I think about Penny’s color-blindness, it is both amazing and completely normal. It makes me unbelievably happy and, I have to admit, a little sad.

It’s amazing because the distinctions are so plainly obvious and I know Penny is mindful of discrepancies in individuals. She once asked me, “Why does that lady have a mustache?” I explained that it was just a guy with long hair. Penny was flabbergasted and bombarded me with more questions. She understands gender norms all too well. My wife and I have tried — and failed — to convince her that there are no such things as girl colors and boy colors, only colors. But certain colors and shades she doesn’t see at all? That is just … amazing.

On the other hand, it is totally and completely normal. Taylor thinks of Penny as a sister too. And the Indian girls at school never asked her why she was so pale or made her feel less-than or like an outsider.

It makes me so happy that my daughter and her friends are like this. But I can’t help but be a little worried for the future. (I’m a parent. It’s kind of what we do.) Those first days of pre-K, Penny and all the other students were mixing, mingling and playing, regardless of race. If you were to look up at the parents, however, well, that was another story altogether.

During Penny’s first year of school, the mothers were invited in for a stirring rendition of “I’m a Little Teapot.” My wife was early and sat on one side of the semicircle of chairs. As the other parents filed in, the seats tended to be grouped along racial lines. One of our friends (and the mom of Penny’s “boyfriend” at the time), who is Indian, came in a little late and sat next to my wife rather than in the open seat closer to the other Indian women. Whispers were exchanged, and my wife and her friend felt somewhat scrutinized. It was one of those rare moments when a light is shone on how separate and distinct we all remain in America’s melting pot. You don’t realize it until you do, and then it’s impossible to get out of your head. As Penny and her classmates have gotten older and become closer friends, this boundary has dissipated. There still tends to be a clustering along racial lines, but then those groups ebb and flow with parents from a variety of backgrounds streaming in and out, gushing over everyone’s kids and how adorable and talented they are.

It is inevitable: One day, Penny will cease being so blindly color-blind. She’ll notice the rainbow of different complexions in people’s faces and know all about different races. The thing that’s just as inevitable: she won’t care.

Lesser blogs at Amateur Idiot/Professional Dad. You can follow him on Facebook and on Twitter (@amateuridiot).

TIME Internet

So Far, Online Gambling Revenues Have Been Pathetic

Peter Dazeley—Getty Images

State budget makers and gaming interests have drastically, laughably overestimated the amount of money that would be generated with the advent of legalized online gambling, especially in New Jersey.

In March 2013, New Jersey officials forecast that online gambling would yield somewhere in the neighborhood of $180 million in tax revenues for the state during the first fiscal year Internet gaming was legal. But the estimates have been falling ever since—to $160 million when Christ Christie signed the state budget last summer, and down to just $34 million earlier this year, after a few months of legalized online gambling had passed. More recently, the state treasurer said that no more estimates on online gambling revenues would be made public, which seems wise considering how previous predictions have fared.

From the end of November, when legalized online gambling in New Jersey, through February 2014, a mere $4.2 million in tax revenues has been collected by the state, leading one legislative budget officer to now project an estimate of $12 million in revenues for the year, the Associated Press reported. The revised estimate for next year’s revenues was listed at $48 million. At that pace, it would take four or five years for the state to take in revenues equal to the amount it was supposed to collect in tax revenues during the first year of legal online gambling.

It’s not just state officials who seem mystified by the lackluster returns. Caesars Entertainment recently informed the New Jersey Star-Ledger that its online gaming operation was experiencing decent success in a few parts of the state—Jersey City, Toms River, Cherry Hill—but that it couldn’t explain why interest was strong in some areas and almost nonexistent in others.

New Jersey isn’t the only state that seems to have drastically overestimated online gambling’s potential as a budgetary savior. When Delaware’s gambling sites launched, there were often only a couple dozen players online at any moment, and almost immediately it became apparent that revenues wouldn’t come anywhere near to the first-year estimates. Toward the end of March, Morgan Stanley issued a note regarding longer term prospects for online gambling in the U.S. “We are lowering our estimates to better reflect the insights we have gained following the first few months of operations in New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware,” the note stated, lowering the anticipated gross online gambling spending for 2017 from $5 billion to $3.5 billion, and for 2020 from $9.3 billion to $8 billion.

Toward the end of 2011, mind you, Morgan Stanley was estimating an online gambling market of $14 billion annually, though that was based on broader legalization.

Casino companies give plenty of reasons why online gambling hasn’t taken off in New Jersey and other states, including the continued existence of unregulated (illegal) gambling site competitors, the fact that some banks aren’t allowing their credit cards to be used for placing bets online, and basic lack of awareness among consumers. Surely, some if not all of the factors holding online gambling back can be addressed in time.

That’s assuming legalized online gambling will be around for a while. Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire CEO of the Las Vegas Sands Corp., who obviously has no problem with people gambling in person because he runs casinos, has been waging a war against online gambling for months, at one point penning an op-ed calling Internet gaming “a societal train wreck waiting to happen.” With the backing of Adelson, U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) recently sponsored a bill that would effectively outlaw online gambling throughout the country.

A group supported by Adelson, the Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling, has released a series of online ads warning about the risks posed to children and their families in a world where gambling is available on screens 24/7, and it’s not always possible to tell who is using an online account. As the National Journal pointed out, one of the ads shows how a kid with a smartphone can be playing Angry Birds one minute, then be addicted to blackjack the next:

“I was playing Angry Birds and then, you know, I just found it,” the teen narrates, as images of online blackjack and poker tables flash on screen. “It’s a lot cooler knowing that I’m playing a real game, not just, like, Candy Crush or Fruit Ninja.”


Why That Creepy Character in the Cereal Aisle Is Eyeing Your Child

A man pushes his shopping cart past the cereal aisle where G
Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images

If your child begs, pleads, and throws a hissy fit to get you to buy the sugary cereal featuring a cartoon mascot on the box, all is going according to plan.

It’s fairly common knowledge that supermarkets are carefully, purposefully designed to pump up the possibility of spontaneous walk-by purchases. Milk and eggs are in some remote corner, forcing shoppers to stroll past a range of inessential goods in order to pick up the basics. Soda, candy, and trashy magazines fill the checkout area, where there’s a captive audience likely to be tempted into staving off boredom and grumbling stomachs.

Lately, stores have increased efforts to tempt an increasingly large grocery-shopping demographic (guys) with so-called “man aisles,”, where products aimed at dudes—lighter fluid, beer, cheese dip, jerky, batteries—are found in abundance. These sections often aren’t entire aisles; instead, they tend to be toward the end of an aisle, to maximize the possibility that guys, who aren’t known to browse from aisle to aisle, will see them while hunting for the items on one’s list.

The guys section is an extension of the well-worn tactic of grocery stores involving placing products strategically so that they’ll catch the eyes of the core demographic. Higher-priced goods tend to sit at the eye level of an adult, with the hope that shoppers in a hurry will grab the first tomato sauce or bag of coffee they see, rather than take the time to search for a better value somewhere below.

Researchers at Cornell’s Food and Brand Lab just released a study verifying that cereals marketed to kids—the sugary kind, with colorful cartoon mascots, including Cap’N Crunch, Trix, and Cocoa Puffs—are understandably placed much lower than cereals aimed at adults. The average height of placement in grocery stores for a kids cereal is 23 inches, compared to 48 inches high for grown-up cereals.

That shouldn’t come as a surprise, given all the other strategic design and placement that goes on in grocery stores. What parents may find surprising and, likely, disturbing, is that Cornell researchers also found that the majority of mascots on kids cereal boxes look slightly downward, increasing the chances that these characters will be making direct eye contact with your toddler standing in the aisle. Spokespeople and other characters on adult cereal boxes, by contrast, are almost always staring straight ahead, and because they’re placed among the top shelves, they too should be staring straight into the eyes of the demographic they’re trying to woo.

None of this happens by accident. Research shows that brand trust and connectivity to a product increases when eye contact is made, even when it’s just a weird cartoon rabbit or frog that’s gazing directly at a small child’s face. What’s more, when the uneasy feeling arises that someone is staring at you, there’s an instinct to turn your head and see who it is. This means shoppers are more likely to take a look at the product in the first place because it catches one’s eye. Naturally, all of this increases the odds that the cereal will wind up in your shopping cart.

What can you do to avoid having your kid manipulated, and perhaps more importantly, avoid having to deal with a meltdown? Brian Wansink, one of the Cornell researchers involved in the study, offers some advice that moms and dads may or may not find practical: “If you are a parent who does not want your kids to go ‘cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs,’ avoid taking them down the cereal aisle,” he says. Wansik also doles out a tip to cereal makers hoping to score points with families: “If you are a cereal company looking to market healthy cereals to kids, use spokes-characters that make eye contact with children to create brand loyalty.”

TIME Autism

One in 68: Living With Autism

Marcus O’Loughlin, 9, is one of 1.2 million children under age 21 affected by the developmental disorder

Rates of autism in the U.S. have continued to soar, hitting an all-time in the latest statistics, which found that one in 68 eight year olds, or and estimated 1.2 million children under 21, are affected by the developmental disorder.

For those families, living with autism is a daily test. “My relationship with my son is a journey,” says Erin O’Loughlin, whose nine year old son Marcus was diagnosed at three with moderate to severe autism. “You have all these hopes and dreams and expectations of what your child is potentially going to be, and all of a sudden those hopes and dreams and expectations change. You have to have different dreams.”

O’Loughlin, her husband and two children have yet to have a conversation with Marcus; he is non verbal, and only expresses himself in frustrated meltdowns of crying and screaming. The family helps Marcus with everything, from brushing his teeth to getting dressed and eating. And O’Loughlin knows that it’s taking a toll on the family. “I lot of times I just drop off my other children at their activities rather than staying with them because [Marcus] can’t handle loud places, and it’s always like a ticking time bomb with him; you wonder how much patience he is going to have when I deal with the other children’s activities,” she says.

For her, the latest numbers only highlight what she sees as a neglected aspect of autism – how families cope with the financial and emotional demands of living with a loved one who struggles, but is unable to communicate and understand our world. She runs a farm for autistic children and adults in Cary, North Carolina, and advocates for older people with autism who age out of state and federal services aimed at younger, school-aged children. “There are not enough services, there isn’t enough funding out there at all, and not enough focus from the government’s and society’s standpoint on the millions of kids who have already been diagnosed,” she says. “You don’t just outgrow autism, and we need to not just forget about the children in these studies.”

TIME Marketing & Advertising

A Recent History of Campaigns to Get Couples to Do the Nasty

Kathrin Ziegler—Getty Images

The new “Do It for Denmark” campaign is just what it sounds like: an initiative encouraging couples to have sex—and make babies—for the good of the country.

The campaign, reminiscent of a cheesy song from “Grease 2,” was launched by the travel operator Spies Rejser, which claims that it is simply doing its share for an extremely important cause: helping couples get busy. “Do It for Denmark” offers couples the opportunity to book vacations with an “ovulation discount,” and those who prove they conceived while on holiday are eligible to win a three years’ worth of baby supplies, as well as a child-friendly vacation in the future. The point—beyond generating media attention and booking more vacations—is to combat a low birth rate that has been described as “approaching epidemic levels” in Denmark.

The company points to research indicating that 46% of couples have more sex on vacation, and that 10% of all Danes are conceived while couples are away from home. “Do It for Denmark” is hardly the first or only campaign making the case that a hotel or resort is the perfect spot for procreating, for the good of a country’s future or otherwise. In the late ’00s, a range of hotel companies and tour operators latched onto the idea that there was a strong demand among couples for “procreation vacation” packages, or “conceptionmoons,” if you’d rather. As the Wall Street Journal noted, the trend was largely an extension of other ‘moon vacation ideas, including “babymoons” (a last vacation before a baby arrives), “anniversarymoons” (basically another honeymoon on a big wedding anniversary year), and “divorcemoons” (a celebratory trip after a split).

(MORE: Snickers Ad Manages to Be Sexist to Both Men and Women)

Much larger pro-procreation movements have been undertaken by nations seeking to kick lackluster birth rates into higher gear. The most notable—and certainly, memorable—took place last year, when R&B greats Boyz II Men played in Moscow before Valentine’s Day, supposedly to help Vladimir Putin in his quest to boost the country’s birth rate, which has been falling for decades. While it was unclear it Putin had anything to do with the booking of the “I’ll Make Love to You” crooners, Slate pointed out that the Putin era has been filled with baby-making and pro-family initiatives, including the introduction of special holidays more or less created for the purpose of conception and cash bonuses for moms having second kids. In Asia, Singapore and South Korea have tried to hike birth rates with big discounts on childcare and a commercial featuring a rap song proclaiming how inherently patriotic it is to make babies.

Then there’s France. A wide range of pro-family policies, including tax breaks, generous maternity leave, and discounts on train travel and other services, was credited for helping France achieve the second-highest fertility rate in Europe in the mid-00s, 1.94 children born per woman, the Washington Post reported.

According to Reuters, the fertility rate in France climbed as high as 2.03 in 2010, but has since retreated, to 2.01 in 2012 and 1.99 last year. It might be time to call Boyz II Men.

TIME Childhood

These Kids Want to Show You Their Favorite Toys

From Fiji to Zambia, children showed Italian photographer Gabriele Galimberte their favorite toys

Italian photographer Gabriele Galimberti photographed children all over the world posing with their favorite toys, from Alaska to India to Africa to South America. “For every photograph, I would spend the entire day with the family,” he says in the introduction to his book, Toy Stories: Photos of Children from Around the World and Their Favorite Things published by Abrams Image. “In some places, like China and the Middle East, the parents would push their children hard to pose for the photos, even if the kids didn’t seem comfortable. It could be a bit embarassing. I didn’t want to take pictures of crying children.”

Galimberti found that the fewer toys a child had, the less possessive he or she was about them, and that free-roaming children tended to be more likely to share their toys than city children who often play alone.

“My eighty-five year-old grandmother doesn’t know where some of the countries I visited are — places like Zambia, Malawi, or Fiji — but she remembers her favorite toys. Everybody does.”

Your browser, Internet Explorer 8 or below, is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites.

Learn how to update your browser