Youth 'cannot live' without web

A survey of 16 to 24 year olds has found that 75% of them feel they "couldn't live" without the internet.The report, published by online charity YouthNet, also found that four out of five young people used the web to look for advice. About one third added that they felt no need to talk to a person face to face about their problems because of the resources available online. The findings will be unveiled at the Houses of Parliament on Wednesday. Despite high-profile examples of internet security breaches, such as the recent incident of phishing email scams, 76% of the survey group thought the internet was a safe place "as long as you know what you're doing". "Probably the middle-aged are the most vulnerable," said Open University psychologist Graham Jones. "I think children, teenagers and people under their mid-20s have grown up with technology and they understand it deeply. "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." 'Digital natives' The survey, funded by the Nominet Trust - a charity that encourages the safe use of the internet - looked at how the web influences the well-being of people aged between 16 and 24. Its author, Professor Michael Hulme of Lancaster University, names this age group "digital natives" as they have grown up in an environment rich with computer and mobile technology. "For young people the internet is part of the fabric of their world and does not exist in isolation from the physical world," he said. Youthnet, set up by the broadcaster Martyn Lewis in 1995, runs websites offering advice, information and volunteering opportunities to young people. "The need for a safer, trusted [online] place has never been greater," said Fiona Dawes, Youthnet's chief executive. "Youthnet will be taking the insights of this report to heart as we plan the future of our services." No responsibility can be taken for the content of external Internet sites.

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