Social networking – it’s a popular way of using the internet that makes the web simpler, and more about you and your friends.

The great thing about social networking is that it lets you see what your friends and family are up to – even if they’re not that good at keeping in touch!

Instead of them having to write you a postcard, or even remember to email, they post photos, messages and updates onto a website page where everyone can see them.  You can respond, or put up pictures and messages of your own.

To get connected with social networking, you don’t need a powerful computer – just a device that connects to the internet via a web browser, and an email address.

You can use a smartphone, a computer or some newer televisions, but tablets like the iPad and similar Android-based devices are an especially great way to use social networking.

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube

The most popular social network right now is Facebook – it lets you share your photos and videos, comment on things other people have shared, and even send private messages.

And because Facebook has millions of members, it’s really good at helping you find long-lost friends or connect with your extended family.

Other social networks include Twitter – which is all about sharing quick, short thoughts and notes with a group of followers. And YouTube specialises in video – it’s where you can watch clips, and upload your own for all to see.

All these social networks can be accessed through websites. You visit them like any part of the internet. But the difference is, once you get on, you may never want to leave! And the best thing is that they’re free to join.