Taking part in social networking could help you live longer – providing you network online with younger people. According to researchers from the University of Iowa there is a genetic basis for a long-known phenomenon – animals that socialise with younger members of their species tend to live longer than those who do not connect with them.

True, the research is in its early stages but it does point towards a possibility. Being with younger people makes older ones more active – and activity boost your lifespan. Also, for humans we know that brain activity is also a fundamental in preventing conditions such as Alzheimer’s, so anything which gives you a mental work-out is likely to be beneficial.

Social networks are full of teenagers and young people – however, they are also populated by older people. The average age on Facebook, for instance, is 35 – implying that there must be quite a few “oldies” on there if it is so popular amongst teenagers.

According to the Pew Internet Project we are using such groups to connect the age ranges. Families are more connected than ever before, thanks to the range of online tools available. In the past you might have only been able to write to your Auntie in Australia once a month or so – now you can connect every day with no cost. And the benefit for your aged Aunt is that your regular contact with her will help her stay fit and healthy.

So even if you can’t think of a reason to get involved with Facebook or other social networks you can at least do it for your own health.

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