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Social media may benefit relationships between parents and adolescents, according to a recent study from Brigham Young University. Image ©iStock

Benefits of Social Media for Parents and Teens

If you’ve ever felt frustrated trying to navigate the world of social media, here’s some good reasons to keep trying.

A study from Brigham Young University released last year found that teenagers who are connected with their parents on social media actually feel closer to mom and dad in real life.

In the study, 491 adolescents and their parents filled out a number of questionnaires on social networking use, feelings of connection and behavioral outcomes. Teens who were connected with their parents on social networking sites had increased feelings of connections with their parents, had higher prosocial behavior and lower relational aggression. In contrast, adolescents who did not have parental connections on social networking had increased incidents of delinquency, relational aggression and internalized behaviors.

So how can sites like Facebook and Twitter help build relationships between parents and teens?

According to the study’s lead author Sarah Coyne, these social networks can give parents an intimate look into their child’s life, what kids are going through, what is cool or what is fun. That can help a parent feel more connected to their child. Parents can then do things such as like a post or make a positive comment about something online. And one of the benefits is that families who interacted through social media more frequently appeared to have stronger connections in the real world as well.

But Coyne also cautions parents against going too far. She said parents should be careful not to post embarrassing pictures or make snarky comments. She reminds parents to be respectful of their teen and conscious of what they are posting.

However with ever-changing technology parents can’t be content to sit back. In a BYU news release, Coyne is quoted as saying, “I think it is important for parents to be media savvy and to know where their kids are. If you really want to stay involved with your kid, you can’t be afraid to learn new technology, to learn new web sites and to know where your teen is”.

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