Students use Facebook to connect, interact with family


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When students aren’t studying for exams or working on assignments, many take a break by hopping on Facebook to connect with friends and family.

When first starting out on Facebook, some students immediately send friend requests to family members, while others hesitate and let family members send friend requests to them.

According to a study titled “How Families Interact on Facebook” posted on the Facebook Data Science page, more than 65 percent of friendships between 13-year-olds and their parents are initiated by the child.

However, the older the child is when the friendship is formed, the less likely the child is to be the one sending the friend request, with the likelihood bottoming out at 40 percent for children in their early to mid-twenties.

“I was the first one out of my family to get a Facebook ... I added them first,” Saginaw freshman Brianna Haynes said. “But when other family members decided to get one, I let them add me. For example, the cousins on my dad’s side that I don’t really know that well added me and ... I only did it to keep in touch."

After initiating a relationship on Facebook by becoming friends, students and family members usually connect through wall posts, commenting on each other’s photos, posts and shared links.

According to the study, as the child gets older, parents are more likely the ones to initiate the communication, possibly because their children post more photos, status updates and other content where the parents can leave comments.

Haynes said she definitely interacts more with friends than family on the social media site. However, she said her father is an exception, and she talks to him often.

“Me and my dad are both silly people, so we’ll crack jokes on each other back and forth or talk about other people,” Haynes said.

Some students find Facebook beneficial to talk to family members they don’t see on a daily basis.

Freshman Shelby Sanders of Macomb interacts with her sisters and extended family on Facebook a few times a week.

“I talk to all my cousins and my sisters, and we don’t see each other a lot,” Sanders said. “Whenever my sister posts pictures of her kids, I always like to tag myself in them and it keeps me updated with their life and seeing how the boys are doing.”

Muskegon senior Joy Monae said she talks to her family every once in a while when she’s on Facebook.

Monae said she has a large extended family and is friends with several of them on Facebook and finds it a convenient way to talk to them without always having to call or text.

“It’s nice to be able to talk to all of my family on Facebook,” Monae said. “Especially since they live in different parts of Michigan and other states that are further away.”


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