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Do online groups fulfil the same needs as an ‘traditional?’ A HomeNet study seemed to suggest not, as the relationship formed online were weaker, lead to a decline in family and friends communication and an increase in loneliness and depression. However, a study by Parks and Floyd contradicted the finding of the HomeNet study, indicating that relationships online were closer and more rewarding then relationships offline. Personally I think the two need to work in conjunction to give a rich tapestry to life. I use online groups to organise events that may not be able to do in ‘real time’ due to life commitments and staying in contact with people who I do not see every day. Over the summer as loneliness sets in, I will use the internet groups to hassle my university friends that I may not see for many months. However, these are people I know offline and while I have ‘met’ people online that has never been a very positive experience and that is where for me online groups do not fulfil the same needs as the offline groups.

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