By Christiane Cordero

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Fewer teenagers are working summer jobs.

According to U.S. labor statistics, just 40 percent of teens are getting summer jobs these days, down from 72 percent in 1978. Economists have noted factors such as the importance of internships to disappearing retail jobs as potential reasons why.

But for some teenagers, the summer job isn’t exactly going away — it’s just changing. You might be inclined to say kids aren’t working summer jobs because they’re too busy on their phones — and in some ways, that’s true.

Fifteen-year-old Allison Roberson is trying to save up for her first car — and in doing so, she’s mixing the old with the new. She says her schedule is packed with babysitting gigs — each of which she found through a social networking site called Nextdoor.

The Nextdoor app aims to connect you with your neighbors. It verifies your location through things like a credit card or your phone number. While its purpose goes beyond finding job opportunities, Allison says that’s where she’s had the most success finding work.

“A lot did come in at one time, and of course we had to meet with them all and just so my mom would know that everything’s okay and that I would be safe,” she said.

Allison also says she’s learning some invaluable life lessons working in the so-called “gig economy.”

“It’s good, because I learn to be reliable for people,” she said. “I learn to be on time and learn to take responsibility for my actions, and just to care for other kids and be the adult in the room, even though I’m not technically an adult.”

Keep in mind, being safe applies to the digital world, too. Just like other apps, Nextdoor collects your name, phone number, physical and email addresses — or more, depending on how you use the app or if you sign in through Facebook.

If all that sounds like too much, your kid can always ice cream scoop his or her way through summer — just like many teenagers did before them.

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