75% of teens can't live without the web

Nearly half claim they are happiest when online

Three quarters of 16 to 24 year olds can't live without the internet, says YouthNet.

The Life Support: Young people's needs in a digital age report, which was conducted on behalf of the charity by Professor Michael Hulme of Lancaster University, revealed that 45 per cent of teens claim they are happiest when online.

YouthNet also said that 82 per cent of 16 to 24 year olds have used the web to look for advice and a third revealed that they had found all the information they needed online ensuring there was no need to speak face-to-face with anyone about their problems.

Furthermore, 37 per cent of those surveyed said they would they use the web to give other advice on sensitive issues.

Hulme labeled the age group 'Digital Natives' saying they had been surrounded by computers, the internet, mobile phones and digital video games since a pre-school age.

Hulme also said they have 'hybrid lives' that see them "communicating and networking in a more advanced way than their parents and grandparents" thanks to the technology they have grown up with.

YouthNet also said that 76 per cent of 16-24 year olds said they felt the web was safe as long as "you know what you're doing".

"The incredible speed in which communication methods are changing means that young people are trailblazing new ways to converse that many of my generation struggle to understand," said YouthNet chief executive, Fiona Dawe.

Open University psychologist Graham Jones told the BBC: "I think children, teenagers and people under their mid-20s have grown up with technology and they understand it deeply".

"Probably the middle-aged are the most vulnerable. So-called silver surfers have got time to learn about it and understand it as well. One of the biggest problems for children is not that they are vulnerable but that their parents don't know what they're doing."

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