Should I friend or follow my teen on social media?

You can ask, but don't insist on it. Some families are connected on social media and it works for them. Some teens don't want their parents seeing everything on their pages (and will block you from seeing things, which kind of defeats the purpose of being friends). Following your teens online opens up a can of worms, and you'll have to figure out how to negotiate that new relationship. If your teens let you friend or follow them, stay in the background (don't comment or "like" their posts unless they want you to), pick your battles, and make sure to address anything important face to face, not on their pages in front of their friends.

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Teen, 17 years old written by broadway.obsessed

If your kid seems comfortable/willing to add you on their social media, then that's fine. For some families, that kind of connection may help one another to be involved in each other's lives. But for a lot of kids and teens, myself included, social media sites offer a haven away from different forms of stress, such as school and family. If your child doesn't want to be connected to you online a) Don't suspect anything odd of them. Just because they want their privacy doesn't mean they're off doing drugs. Teenagers often want and even need their space; that's what helps them to function well in adulthood. b) Understand that they are likely not trying to keep you out of or separated from their life. Life is very divided for a lot of people, and in the same way you may see your office as strictly a work space, they may see tumblr as a place to interact with their social circle.
Kid, 12 years old

Around the age children get into social media, they begin to become embarrassed as to their public association with their parents. Friending is worse than following, as with following it is all deniable. If they are using a social media service that shows followers, you might want to back off or create a secondary account.
Teen, 13 years old written by Booklover1231

I think you should ask. As a teen, if a parent just follows you without telling you it gives off the message that you don't think we can handle social media or that you don't trust us. It is quite hurtful so I think asking would be best.
Teen, 17 years old written by perfect_disaster

As a teen who is very socialy active on the internet, I have both my parents on facebook but nothing else. It feels like an invasion of privacy if I let them onto my tumblr and stuff because thats like my own personal safe haven
Parent of a 9 and 13 year old written by jasminesmom

I "friend" my daughter. It helps keep her accountable for her actions. She is less likely to use bad language or post inappropriate things if she knows her mom might see it. It also opens doors for us to talk about inappropriate actions of our social media friends. She brought up how ridiculous one of her friends looks for constantly posting sexy selfies to get attention. We were able to discuss how "other" people see your posts differently than intended.
Teen, 16 years old written by EatingGayChickens

I agree. Ask. If they decide to let you, then grand, but if you force it upon them they are able to block you or prevent you from seeing things without you knowing it.