The kind of people your high school teen spends time with can affect her studies, and this goes beyond physically hanging out. According to a recent study on, the same effect may be caused by online interactions.

Hiroki Sayama from Binghamton University, together with his colleagues from the Maine-Endwell High School in Endwell, New York, asked volunteer students to categorize the people around them as relatives, best friends, friends, acquaintances, or strangers. Their performance in school was then examined in relation to their peer groups, while their social network was correlated to changes in their grades over a given period of time.

The results showed that students who had friends who were performing well also had greater chances of improving their own grades, while those whose friends had below average performances had their performance slowly decline. Interestingly, those they had ranked friends seemed to be more influential to them more than their best friends.

Of course, this doesn't mean that you'll need to review the grades of your child's friends. As a parent, what you can do is to support your her academic endeavors and extra-curricular activities without breathing down her neck. Every child learns at a different pace; what is important is effort, discipline, and parental support.

(Photo by Librarygroover via Flickr Creative Commons)

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