Research finds that one in 10 people has either met their best friend online or believes they will meet good friends on the Web, reports the Guardian.
After clocking up more than a few acquaintances online, it might come as a particular blow for keen social networkers like Barack Obama, or even Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg himself.
But it seems that there really is something in that lingering suspicion that most users of social networking sites have more friends in cyberspace than reality. The average person has in fact double the amount of online friends than physical ones, according to research commissioned by the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, which found users of such sites have 121 online friends compared with 55 physical friends.
The study also claims that people tend to be more open, confident and honest with their virtual friends than their "real" counterparts.
The results also reveal that one in 10 people has either met their best friend online or believe they will meet lifelong friends on the Web. The findings highlight how social introductions are also changing. Only 5% would ask for someone's phone number whereas 23% are more likely to ask for an email address or a full name with the intention of adding them on a social network.
According to the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, the Internet provides a vital lifeline to people unable to physically socialise as much as they would like to. Scrutiny of the alleged impact of social networking websites on society at large provided by a separate study found that one in five parents think their children's school results are suffering due to the amount of time they spend on Facebook, Twitter, Myspace and other non-educational web pages.
A questionnaire completed by 4,427 adults, suggested that 20% of parents believe their child's education is being hampered by the amount of time they spend on such sites.
The survey, conducted on behalf of TalkTalk's Internet security service HomeSafe, found that children are spending an average of two hours and six minutes a day online. Nearly half of six to 11-year-olds spend one to two hours per day using the Internet to play games but only 10% use the Internet daily to do their homework, results show.
It found that 50% of children aged between 12 and 17 use social networking sites every day while only 16% use the Internet daily for homework. Agencies
Aritcle from DNA