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Families who Facebook together stay together, study says

Here's something parents can "Like": Teens who interact with their parents on Facebook are also more likely to feel closer to them in real life.

A study released this week by Brigham Young University says parents who connect with their kids on Facebook and other social networks are likely to build a stronger connection with them in real life. These teens also have higher rates of "pro social behavior," meaning they are more generous, kind and helpful to others, according to the study.

"Social networks give an intimate look at your teenager’s life," Sarah Coyne, lead author of the study, said in a statement. "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."

Coyne said parents can build these connections by liking and leaving nice comments on their teens' Facebook posts. She said this gives parents opportunities to show their support for their kids.

PHOTOS: Freshest Facebook features

But of course, parents don't want to overdo it. Coyne said parents want to interact with their teens on social media in moderation.

"You don’t want to be the parent who posts embarrassing pictures of your kid all the time or makes snarky comments," she said. "You have to keep it at the level that’s appropriate and respectful of what the teen wants as well."

Coyne said she also encourages parents to try to connect with their teens on other social networks, such as Twitter.

"A lot of teenagers are on Twitter and not a lot of parents are on that," she said. "If you really want to stay involved with your kid, you can’t be afraid to learn new technology, to learn new websites and to know where your teen is."

The study involved 491 families with teens ages 12 to 17, with most in the 14 to 16 range. The participants were from Seattle and were selected randomly. Coyne said the study was conducted by interviewing each of the families earlier this summer.

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Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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