Social networking influences parents too

The behaviour of parents is being influenced by social networking sites, new research has suggested. Published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, the study found mothers and fathers are similar to their children when it comes to websites such as Facebook.

Led by PhD psychology student Emily Christofides, doctoral student Amy Muise and psychology professor Serge Desmarais, the investigation found mums and dads are just as likely to disclose personal information on the portals as their offspring are, while also feeling the need to be popular on the pages.

Ms Chrstofides explained Facebook is not just a phenomenon that has gripped the young.

"Both parents and teens share and show more about themselves than they might in other social settings and the same psychological factors underpin that behaviour," she stated.

Professor Monica Whitty from the Department of Media and Communications at the University of Leicester, a Chartered Psychologist, commented: "Since the early days of the internet, psychologists have found that under certain conditions most people are more likely to self-disclose more details about themselves online compared with face-to-face.

"Given this, Christofides and Muise's findings are unsurprising. The results also highlight that we need to become more aware of just who our audience is when we communication in cyberspace."

Facebook is one of a number of social networking sites to have proven popular on the web, with the latest incarnation coming in the form of the newly unveiled Google+.