In the Harry Potter books, owls delivered letters to students on a regular basis with information from home and advice from parents. In extreme circumstances, parents would send howler letters that needed immediate attention from the students. This usually happened when a student was getting bad grades or had gotten into some other type of trouble.
This is not unlike the current state of communication between college students and their parents. Parents want to give their students freedom so they limit communication to texts and e-mails. Occasionally, when circumstances are difficult for a student, parents will call their child on the phone to have a more personal conversation. Students also want to be independent and are often hesitant to reach out to their parents for advice unless the situation is very bad. Usually the phone conversations turn into the parent feeling like a nag and the student becoming defensive.
What if we could harness the wisdom of parents and make it available to all students through an online platform? Any student could contact any parent for support based on that parent's area of expertise. There could also be a FAQ center with advice and support for common areas of concern. A student could set up a time to talk with any parent about a current need or could join an online discussion around a specific topic. For example, a student preparing for a study abroad trip requiring visas and immunizations could find a parent expert who could lead them through the process with advice about starting the process early and pitfalls to avoid.
Our Owl hotline would give parents a platform for helping students and an assurance that their own child had a place to receive support. Students would benefit from the collective wisdom of parents and maintain healthier relationships with their own parents.