Parents and Families

Students taking photo in front of dorm

Now that the school year has started, what's the best way to communicate with your student? Many parents prefer phone and email, but is that how students want to communicate? 

According to the U-M Social Media Survey of Winter 2014, many students consider social media to be a great way to keep in touch.  In fact, a majority reported they use social networking sites to remain connected with parents or other family members.

Almost 28% of U-M students surveyed said they wish to reach family members when they use Facebook. And over two thirds say their use hasn’t changed as a result of parents or other family members being on Facebook.

Lots of U-M students are connecting with family on other social media sites too, including:

  • Twitter 39%
  • Google+ 13%
  • LinkedIn 9%
  • YouTube 6%
  • Foursquare 2%

And very few students (less than 13%) said they felt "concerned" or "disapproving" about family members following them on social media.

Clearly, communicating in person, and over phone and email are still the most popular ways to keep in touch with your student, but not the only way!

Your student is likely to experience many transitions throughout college, and exploring a variety of communication options may increase your odds of finding the best solution for staying in touch. You may wish to start a conversation about social media with your student as a way to identify which method is best, and also to get their recommendations for interesting new sites and ways of connecting.

We recommend visiting the Parents website for some great tips on communicating with your student. When you can't be there in person to collect a hug, it may lift spirits to surprise your student with a care package or post a message in the Michigan Daily. 

Source: The Social Media Student Survey Winter 2014, a Student Life study conducted by Dr. Malinda Matney, Senior Research Associate for Student Life, and Eric Heilmeier, Director of Campus Information Services.


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