These days, it’s not just young people who are making friends online. The power of social media and the many specialist forums means that everyone can get chatting.
You don’t even need a computer anymore; if you have a smart phone, tablet or iPad with internet access, the world’s your oyster.
The great thing about going online is that you don’t have to restrict your conversations and friendships with people who live nearby.
The key thing is to stay safe and not to give your personal information out to people who you haven’t met face to face. It’s usually better not to use your real name.
Facebook is probably the most popular social networking site. Users can stay in touch with friends and family across the world, as well as joining groups for people with common interests, e.g. hobbies, pastimes, careers, etc. You can limit who sees your posts/photographs and send private messages.
Download the Messenger app to keep in touch on your mobile device.
Twitter allows the sharing of information and media; however, you need to keep your posts to just 140 characters (including spaces). Hashtags, for example #Wales #Carers allow you to search for topics you are interested in. Twitter is a good way of keeping up with breaking news and political and celebrity gossip.
Forums tend to focus on one topic and over time create an online community where members post questions to be answered and commented on by other members. There are forums for almost every topic imaginable. Just search for a subject that interest you, register for the forum and introduce yourself. You’ll soon find yourself with a whole new circle of friends.
Many charities now have live chat rooms where people can put questions to professionals at certain times, for example, the Alzheimer’s Society and the Carers Trust. Live chat is usually confidential but check first.