When was the last time you went out with your friends, rather than speaking to them on Facebook or Twitter?
Well, if you can’t remember the last time you saw your mates in person but only spoke to them online a few minutes ago, then you’re not alone.
More than a third of Britons spend more time socialising online than they do face-to-face, claims a survey by Badoo.
Online Friends v Offline Friends
Surprisingly, only three in 10 admit to having more friends online than off although half of them do agree web relationships are far more superficial and less meaningful.
Faceless contact though is making Brits braver when chatting to strangers or those they do not know very well with 33% more likely to speak to people they don’t know over a social network compared to 26% who are happy to do so in person.
And it will come as no surprise to many that 28% have exaggerated or lied about who they’ve met or what they’ve done on their social networks.
One in 10 also confess their choice of online friendships are solely designed to look cool and interesting.
Obsession With Digital Life
Badoo – which carried out the research – is itself a social network for meeting new people and it polled 2,000 Brits among a total of more than 6,000 questioned.
Despite all of the “friends” at our fingertips though, more than a quarter of us (27%) admit they get lonely.
Speaking about the findings, psychologist Emma Kenny said: “It’s important that people don’t become so obsessed with their online persona that they lose touch with reality or miss out on real-life events which the research shows us is becoming the case; 17% of Brits have missed key events such as a child’s stage or sporting performance and a baby’s first steps due to trying to capture it on their phone or camera purely for their social network.”
She added: “Whilst of course social networks are a positive addition to our lives and can boost confidence and help people stay in touch, it’s essential that people don’t lose sight of socialising together and the importance of face-to-face, real-life interaction.”
Keeping In Touch Online
Among the positives of social networking for Brits include staying in touch with people who live far away (79%) and tracking down old acquaintances (72%).
But the downside is clear with a fifth finding it easier to argue or disagree publicly online with people rather than face-to-face while a quarter admit they accept ‘friend requests’ from people they aren’t really interested in and don’t particularly even like.
How To Stay Safe On Social Networks
However you use social networks, you should always remember the key rules for your safety and sanity.
- Never give out too much information. You could unwittingly allow identity fraudsters or cybercriminals to clone your persona by giving out details about yourself piecemeal such as your mother’s maiden name, date of birth and home address.
- Educate your children not to speak to strangers online and to never reveal the name of their school or any other personal information.
- Keep your passwords safe and always log out of your social network accounts on shared computers and mobile phones to prevent anyone gaining access to update your status without you knowing.
- On Facebook, regularly review your privacy settings to make sure information and images you do not want to be broadcast publicly on the internet are only kept within your trusted circle of friends.
- Never say anything on a social network that you would not be happy to say in public. Remember, once it’s out there, it could come back to haunt you in the future during a job interview, college application or meeting with friends and family.
- Have you swapped going out for going online? New research reckons one third of Brits spends more time chatting and having fun with virtual friends on the web and social networks rather than in the real world.
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More than a third of Britons spend more time socialising online than they do face-to-face, claims a new survey, are you one of them?