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Articles / Admissions / Teens Ignore Parents' Facebook Friend Requests

May 19, 2020

Teens Ignore Parents' Facebook Friend Requests

Hey, teens. Why don't you want to be Facebook friends with your parents? Maybe it's the same reason that my daughter wouldn't walk with my wife when they went shopping at the mall. I know; I know. Parents can be a real embarrassment, can't they? However, I think there's more than just the embarrassment factor at work concerning the no-parents-allowed-as-friends syndrome on Facebook.

So, how do I know that teens generally don't want their parents as Facebook friends? Well, Kaplan test preppers have done a survey that shows that over a third of teens surveyed who have parents who are also on Facebook aren't "friends" with them. Interestingly, the reason that 40% give for not being friends is because they have ignored their parents' friending request.

This inspires me to imagine some of the interesting conversations between the parent who wants to be a friend and the child who won't allow it. Something like:

Mom: Hey, when are you going to respond to my Facebook Friend request?

Son: What's for dinner?

Whatever, here's the scoop on that Kaplan survey:


According to Kaplan Test Prep's latest survey* on social networking trends and practices among today's teens, 35% of teens whose parents are on Facebook report that they are actually not online friends with them. Of that group, 38% say the reason they are not friends is because they've ignored mom or dad's friend request. But even as some teens ignore their parents' friend requests, 82% say that mom and dad are either “very involved" (44%) or “somewhat involved" (38%) in their academic lives.

“Although for generations high school students have come to accept and even embrace their parents' involvement in their academic work and the college admissions process, Facebook continues to be the new frontier in the ever evolving relationship between parent and child," said Kristen Campbell, executive director, college prep programs, Kaplan Test Prep. “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 particular part of their life where they want to exert their independence. Alternatively, some parents and their children may actually mutually decide to keep their Facebook lives private from one another."

Other key Kaplan Test Prep survey results:

  • 16% of teens who are friends with their parents on Facebook report that being friends with them was a pre-condition for being allowed to create their own profile.
  • 38% say that if their parents were able to see their progress in their SAT or ACT prep classes – just like they track their progress in school – that they would have put more effort in.

A separate May 2010 Kaplan Test Prep survey of 973 high school students reported that of teens who said their parents were on Facebook, a much higher percentage (56%) provided their parents with full profile access – status updates, party photos and all – than with no access at all (34%). Only 9% of teens gave their parents limited access.

*The survey was conducted by e-mail of 2,313 Kaplan Test Prep students who took the SAT and/or ACT between June 2010 and December 2010.


I'd like to hear from some of you parents out there about this, especially those of you who have been waiting a long time for your son or daughter to friend you. My personal opinion is that Moms are by far the more eager to become friends. That's logical, isn't it? Moms usually want to keep an eye on what's happening more than Dads do. Just my opinion.

If you need to gain some insight into why parents embarrass their teens, here's a good article about that. Post your thoughts in the comments section below. Thanks!


Be sure to check out all my admissions-related articles and book reviews at College Confidential.

Written by

Dave Berry

Dave is co-founder of College Confidential and College Karma Consulting, co-author of America's Elite Colleges: The Smart Buyer's Guide to the Ivy League and Other Top Schools, and has over 30 years of experience helping high schoolers gain admission to Ivy League and other ultra-selective schools. He is an expert in the areas application strategies, stats evaluation, college matching, student profile marketing, essays, personality and temperament assessments and web-based admissions counseling. Dave is a graduate of The Pennsylvania State University and has won national awards for his writing on higher education issues, marketing campaigns and communications programs. He brings this expertise to the discipline of college admissions and his role as a student advocate. His College Quest newspaper page won the Newspaper Association of America's Program Excellence Award, the Pennsylvania Newspaper Publisher's Association Newspapers in Education Award, the Thomson Newspapers President's Award for Marketing Excellence and the Inland Press Association-University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Mass Communications Inland Innovation Award for the Best New Page. His pioneering journalism program for teenagers, PRO-TEENS, also received national media attention. In addition, Dave won the Newspaper Association of America's Program Excellence Award for Celebrate Diversity!, a program teaching junior high school students about issues of tolerance. His College Knowledge question-and-answer columns have been published in newspapers throughout the United States. Dave loves Corvettes, classical music, computers, and miniature dachshunds. He and his wife Sharon have a daughter, son and four grandchildren.

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