According to a new study, social network users are more truthful and open with their virtual friends than their real ones. Conducted by the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, the study revealed that an average person has twice the number of online friends as compared to their physical friends. Social network helps people to bond with many people online than they would like to make in real life, and they tend to be more honest and confident with their online buddies. For instance, the social network users generally have 121 online friends rather than 55 real friends.

30% users spend 2hrs daily
Delineating the facts unveiled by the study, nearly 30 percent of the social network users, questioned during the study, spent atleast two hours daily on the social networking sites, like Facebook and Twitter, to communicate with their friends.

Interestingly, one among ten people believed they met their best friends or all-time friends through internet. While five percent users would prefer asking the contact numbers of their online friends, others would go for email address or full name to add them in their social network.

“In wider society, the ways in which friendships are formed and nurtured is changing with people recognising that they can develop deep, meaningful connections with others that they've never met, and may never meet,” said Helen Oxley, consultant clinical psychologist, Manchester Adult Cystic Fibrosis Centre, Wythenshawe Hospital.

Social network acts as a lifeline for sick people
It might be outrageous for some, but social network acts as a lifeline for sick people.

For some, it’s a source to maintain amicable relations with their friends and family, but for others, who live alone as they are ill, these sites act as a medium to heal their pain and aid in recovering. “For most people, the Internet is a way of keeping in touch with loved ones and friends but for people who are isolated due to illness, it plays a more vital role and can often act as a lifeline,” said Helen.

“People with illnesses often rely on the Internet's ability to facilitate friendships as they blog and use networking sites as a way of coming to terms with, and dealing with their illness. It can foster a sense of social connection for those who can frequently feel isolated, which is important to psychological well-being.”

Detrimental effects on children
Apart from the benefits of socializing, there are certain detrimental effects of social network on children. Another study conducted by TalkTalk’s internet security service HomeSafe stated that “children are spending an average of two hours and six minutes a day online.” Out of 4,427 parents, 20 percent believed that their child’s education was being affected as he/she spent more time on non-educational sites like Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace rather than studying.

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