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Teens mixed when it comes to “friending” parents online

It is commonly assumed that the majority of teens dread the thought of “friending” their parents on Facebook or other social networking sites, but the results of a recent study by test prep company Kaplan suggest that’s not always the case.

In fact, in a survey of 2,300 teens carried out between June and December, Kaplan found that where both the teen and parent had Facebook accounts, fully two-thirds (65%) were online friends. Admittedly, 16 percent of those teens were compelled to become friends as a pre-condition for being allowed to create their own account, but that still leaves an impressive number of voluntary online friendships.

Of the 35 percent who aren’t friends with their parents on Facebook, over one-third reported that they just ignored their parents’ requests. However, Kaplan points out that not being Facebook friends is not necessarily an indication of a lack of parental involvement: 82 percent of the “non-friending” teens report that their parents are “very involved” (44%) or “somewhat involved” (38%)in their academic lives.

An earlier Kaplan survey found that when it comes to friending parents, not all friendships are the same. Of the two-thirds of teens who have friended their parents, approximately 15% have limited their parents’ access in some way. This number is almost certain to rise, as Facebook has recently made it much easier to distinguish between groups of friends and place restrictions on what each individual group can see.

For those parents that haven’t been able to friend their teen, Kaplan Test Prep executive director Kristen Campbell has a message: Don’t take it personally. “When a teen ignores a parent’s friend request, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are hiding something, but it could mean that this is one part of their life where they want to exert their independence,” said Campbell in a statement. “Alternatively, some parents and their children may actually mutually decide to keep their Facebook lives private from each other.”

Have you tried to “friend” your teen on Facebook? What was their response? Share your thoughts with The Online Mom!



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