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Study: Teens, parents who connect on social media have better relationships

Study: Social media benefits parent/teen relationships

That dreaded Facebook friend request from mom or dad may be just what your relationship needs.

A new study from Brigham Young University says young people who connect with their parents on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have closer relationships in real life, and are more kind and generous to others.

"Social networks give an intimate look at your teenager's life," said the study's author Sarah Coyne. "It lets parents know what their kids are going through, what their friends think is cool or fun, and helps them feel more connected to their child. It gives a nice little window into what is going on."

For the Bair family in Colorado Springs, social media is about being connected, especially with 16-year-old Erin Bair studying in Germany. The family uses systems like Facetime and Google Hangouts to keep in touch, but they're also connected on Facebook.

"I don't hide things from my parents, so it doesn't matter," said Erin.

Her dad, Dave, said both kids have to be friends with he and his wife to use Facebook.

"As a parent, I can see what's going on, not only with my child, but more importantly, her circle of friends," Dave said. "And it allows us to know more about just what are the daily happenings, especially if there's anything concerning going on."

Dave said his family doesn't let communication on social media take the place of face-to-face talks, but that social media postings can open up good opportunities for dialogue.

Still for some, that friend request can be hard to accept. Tyler Pann said he wouldn't accept his parents on Facebook during high school.

"Then they come to your room right after like, 'Why didn't you accept?' And it's like, 'I'll accept it when I want it,"he said.

Pann said he did want that connection after high school.

"You grow up and then you really don't care," he said, smiling as he walked downtown with his parents.

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