Youth "cannot live" without the Internet

A survey published by online charity YouthNet, has found that 75 percent of 16-to-24 year-olds feel that they "couldn't live" without the Internet. The report also found that 82 percent would look online for advice and that 45 percent "felt happiest" when spending time online.

Thirty-two percent of respondents also said that they didn't need to ask a real person about their problems as they could find everything they needed online. Less than half would give advice online, with just 37 percent saying they would give advice on sensitive issues to those seeking it online.

The report, which was presented to the House of Commons, looked at how young people have evolved to living with the Internet and the challenges it can cause for organisations looking to offer support to young people.

Despite many high-profile security threats in recent times, over three quarters of young people believe the Internet to be a safe place, if you know what you are doing. It also showed that most believe themselves to be Internet-literate and aware of technology, with the skills to sense potential threats online.

The report also said that the Internet had made 16-to-24 year-olds fundamentally different to previous generations, with young people now living "hybrid lives." Described as the "ever on" group, young people of today demand immediate access to information and friends, according to the report.

The author of the report, Professor Michael Hulme of Lancaster University concluded, "For young people, the internet is part of the fabric of their world and does not exist in isolation from the physical world, rather it operates as a fully integrated element.

In the future as access becomes ever more mobile, multi-platform, faster and with richer media – in other words ever on and everywhere – the need and demand for advice through the internet will become even more critical."

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