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One in five young Britons using broadband connections spend over 34 hours online each week, with 80 per cent of those logging on daily, new research has revealed.

According to statistics from MTV, the increasing use of the internet among the young to access social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook and for e-mail is evidence of how far the technology has now become embedded in their social lives.

Andrew Davidson, vice president of VBS International Insight at MTV Networks International, said: "Friends play an expanded role in the lives of young people. When they come home from school, college or work, socialising does not stop as it used to, it just goes online. Kids and young people are now connected constantly."

However, the survey also revealed that although 16-24 year olds might be heavy internet users, their use is on a purely functional basis rather than born out of any great love for technology.

Mr Davidson added: "Young people don’t see tech as a separate entity - it’s an organic part of their lives. Talking to them about the role of technology in their lifestyle would be like talking to kids in the 1980s about the role the park swing or telephone played in their social lives - it’s invisible"

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