But many people are still scared of IT at first...
Social networks and instant messaging can improve users' sense of wellbeing and make them feel more satisfied with life, according to a survey by BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT.
Two-thirds of people quizzed by BCS said having access to IT increases their quality of life and the quality of people's lives generally.
Paul Flatters of Trajectory Partnership, which wrote the report for BCS, said: "Social networking makes us happier." Given the immediate increase in satisfaction generated by the use of these sites, teaching people about how to use services such as Facebook could be a more effective way of bridging the digital divide and getting people online, he said.
The increase in satisfaction is attributed by BCS to the greater sense of freedom and control that users of social networks feel.
The study found that women and socially disadvantaged individuals benefit more from engaging with these services - along with people who have most recently gone online.
The biggest increase in satisfaction from social technology is among users who have used the internet for less than two years. The BCS analysis found that people who have been online for longer have a greater attachment to email and online shopping and have been slower to adopt more social applications.
The report said these more experienced users, who first went online before the proliferation of social media, have been slower to adopt social networking.
The research found that some people still feel anxiety about IT, with most people surveyed saying they had been fearful of technology at some point in the past.
The current pace of change is also proving a concern for some, according to the report, quoting one respondent as saying, "I think aaargh. It's advancing so much, as soon as you learn one thing, that's going to be obsolete."
But the report added: "For many respondents it was clear that, in a relatively short space of time, their relationship with IT had changed from one of fear to one of joy."