18 Nov Happiness…connecting online leads to connecting offline
Online social networking increases social connectedness…and, then, happiness!
Online social networking increases, rather than reduces, face-to-face socialising, although a significant number of people have had bad experiences online, according to an Australian Psychological Society survey released today.
The Social and Psychological Impact of Online Social Networking survey of adults revealed more than a quarter of respondents actually attended more social gatherings with family and friends since using online social networking.
This research supports recent studies into social networking and contradicts popular claims that sites like Facebook reduce face-to-face contact and increase isolation.
Survey respondents said they use social networking sites to keep in touch with friends (88%) and family (58%) and to find out what other people are doing (60%). And 68% use Facebook to keep in touch with people who live far away.
Australian Psychological Society (APS) researcher Dr Rebecca Mathews said that despite earlier studies suggesting online social networking reduced social skills and increased people_ã_s sense of isolation, the APS found the social networking phenomenon had the opposite effect.
_ã–Our respondents said rather than replacing their _ãÄoffline_ã_ gatherings, Facebook actually increased the amount of time they spent socialising with friends and family,_ã she said.
_ã–These findings are significant because we know strong social connections enhance people_ã_s self-esteem and mental health while providing support and a sense of belonging,_ã Dr Mathews said.
The survey of 1834 respondents also found more than half of 18 to 30 year olds felt they would lose contact with many of their friends if they stopped using social networking sites.
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