Essay On Online Support Groups

709 Words 3 Pages
Online Support Groups: The Future of Community Support through the Use of the Internet and the Risks and Benefits for Users

As people continue to become technologically advanced, the use of the internet in search of knowledge regarding health issues has increased. The internet has created a new arena that can offer information to many with just a few keyword searches. Many have turned to the internet in search of valuable information on a variety of health topics, from general knowledge to online support groups. Although there are many benefits to such open access to this type of information, there also disadvantages to participating in online support groups.
Background
Online support groups have been utilized by people since the early 1980s in the form of chat rooms (Potts, 2005). Support groups continue to provide a place for individuals, friends, families, and professionals to come together to share their common experiences. Depending on the type of support a person is seeking, they may choose groups related to or run by professional organizations or a volunteer-run, self-help type of support group. These support groups can take the form of email mailing lists or forums where users are able to communicate with one another on specific topics (White &
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Participants must use caution when choosing which groups they choose to participate in. Users should research the groups they are interested in joining to see who the site is sponsored by, what type of communication rules are put in place by the owners of the site, and the types of members that are participating, if that information is presented. Research continues to support the use of online support groups as a means to create communities to help people cope. As long as participants are aware of all possibilities, good and bad, there is no reason not to utilize this type of

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