London: Youngsters are turning `skin hungry` as networking online leaves them feeling as lonely as the elderly, a study has found.
Having an average of 243 Facebook friends, teenagers are spending so much time on the internet that they have little time to move out with friends, a website reported the study as stating.
Commissioned by Yours magazine, the study included people aged between 18 and 80, it found that over a third of people spend more time chatting online than going out with friends.
Sixty percent of those surveyed said they found it difficult to make friends `in real life` compared with online and a similar number (69 per cent) said they believe that Britain is an unfriendly place to live.
According to relationship expert Julie Peasgood, instead of breaking down society`s barriers, technology has made us more isolated and it is affecting young people.
She said: "You can`t hug a Facebook friend. Touch calms us, heals us and allows us to connect with other people.
"It is the only basic sense considered to be essential for human life and `skin hunger` is now recognised as being the adult version of the `failure to thrive` syndrome seen in Second World War babies in orphanages."