Half of young people now claim they are happiest when they are online, while three quarters say they could not live without internet, according to research.
Teenagers have evolved to communicate in more advanced ways than older generations, living lives where the internet plays a critical role, according to a report.
Life Support: Young people’s needs in a digital age, commissioned by Youthnet charity, looked at how digital communications have impacted on the psychological and neurological behaviour of young people.
It found that 75 per cent said that they couldn’t live without the internet and 45 per cent said that they felt happiest when online.
Professor Michael Hulme from the Institute for Advanced Studies, Lancaster University, who authored the report said: “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.”
Researchers, who interviewed 994 young people aged 16 to 24, found that 43 per cent said they have known someone who has been a victim of an online scam.
Prof Hulme described those interviewed as ‘Digital Natives’ – those under the age of 25, who have been surrounded by computers, the internet, mobile phones and digital video games since a preschool age.
According to the report, they are fundamentally different to previous generations, living ‘hybrid lives’, communicating and networking in a more advanced way than their parents and grandparents, and have ‘highly developed visual-spatial skills’.
Imagine where we are headed if the current trend continues.