According to Statistics Korea, Korean women’s average age at their first marriage entered the thirties in 2015. The increase of working women is one of many factors that have led to this phenomenon. This increase has also led to the rise of dual-income families, making it necessary to find a caretaker for their children during their absence. Companies such as Momsitter and Jaranda have come up with the idea of connecting college students and parents in order to provide students with jobs and allow parents to easily hire them without costing them as much as professional’s charge. With just several taps on a mobile device, parents are now able to ease their worries of having to leave their children alone. Currently a trending term, a college sitter is a combination of the words of college student and baby sitter, meaning someone who takes care of children and helps them with their studies at the same time. As the age range of children is from three to 13, the roles of college sitters vary. For example, for older elementary school students, sitters usually teach certain subjects that they major or specialize in. Though it may sound like tutoring, college sitters have additional responsibilities as they further include activities such as playing with the children and making sure they are fed. To become a college sitter, a student must go through a thorough and detailed application process as the job requires substantial trust. First, students are asked about the range of age they can take care of, activities they are good at, such as storytelling or playing sports, and available time and place. They then upload their profile pictures and student enrollment verification to confirm that they are students. After the registration is complete, the students wait for their match with the parents. When a student is selected, most parents request a face-to-face interview to get to know the college sitter better prior to hiring. There have been several reviews about college sitters on the school’s online community platforms Everytime and Ewhaian. A student who wants to remain anonymous shared her experience as a college sitter. “I first started the job because I genuinely love being with children, so it was perfect for me as I was able to receive relatively high hourly wage at the same time,” she said. “For me, my role was to teach and play with the kid, which wasn’t a difficult task to do.” However, she expressed some difficulties of being a sitter as the child’s safety wholly depended on her. The responsibility was quite burdensome and frightening at first, but after taking care of the child for some time, she got used to the routine, making it easier afterwards. “I still remember the time I used to babysit a young girl whose parents were so busy that I had spent much more time with the girl than her parents did,” she said. “On the last day of my job, she cried for hours because she was extremely sad that I was going to leave. After calming her down, she soon fell asleep, so I didn’t have a chance to say goodbye before I left. I wish we had had time for a proper goodbye. I definitely recommend this job as I have learned a lot about what it takes to raise a child.” Of course, not every student has enjoyed the experience of being a college sitter as dealing with children and parents is not an easy task to do. However, college sitting still remains popular on online communities as it is continuously trending. As companies that link parents and students put emphasis on thorough assessment and transparent processes, for students who are interested in taking care of children, college sitting might be a good opportunity.
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