While social media has been linked to a negative impact on children, most parents believe that it also helps them keep track of their tweens, a US poll has found.
"The tween stage brings new challenges for parents as they often must balance their child's desire for more freedom and independence with supervision. It's not an easy balancing act," said Sarah Clark from University of Michigan in the US.
The C S Mott Children's Hospital National Poll found that nearly all parents of tweens aged 9-12 agree that social media makes it easier for kids to get in trouble.
However, 61 percent also felt that social media helps parents keep track of tweens.
The survey found that 55 percent of parents read their tween's texts or social media pages to learn more information if their tween was invited to a boy-girl party at the home of an unfamiliar family.
It also found that 39 percent parents track their tween's location on their cell phone during the party.
Mothers were more likely than fathers to say they would use technology to monitor their tweens.
"Social media has opened another door of questions about what parents should be keeping tabs on," said Clark, co-director of the poll.
"Establishing family rules around the use of social media, and discussing the reasons for those rules, is an important part of parenting tweens," Clark said.
The majority of parents still wanted to learn more about what their kids were up to the traditional way, with 91 percent saying they would talk with a classmate's parents when dropping their tween at a party if they did not know the family.
Seventy-six percent would call ahead to make sure the classmate's parents would be supervising the party, researchers said.
About one in four parents in the survey were very concerned about their tweens experimenting with sexual activity, marijuana or other drugs, beer or liquor, and guns or other weapons.
Parents reported a greater concern about tween boys experimenting with guns, but otherwise had similar levels of concern for their tween boys and girls.
Many polled acknowledged the push and pull between allowing children reasonable space while still monitoring their activities.
Two-thirds of parents agreed that tweens need some freedom to make mistakes.