Study: Young People Say Internet as Vital as Food, Air and Water

One in three college students and young professionals consider the Internet to be as important as air, water, food, or shelter, according to a new study conducted by Cisco, a global electronics giant.

The study examines the relationship between human behavior, the Internet and networking's pervasiveness, as explained by Cisco in a news brief. The main goal of the report is to inform businesses of what kind of a new work force they should be bracing for.

The study is based on surveys of college students and professionals of 30 years of age and younger in 14 countries. It found out, among other facts concerning the interaction between young people and the Internet, that more than half of the respondents could not live without the web, which they call an "integral part of their lives." At least that is what they have indicated.

Some of those surveyed have even claimed that the Web is a more integral element of their lives than a car, dating, or partying.

One in every three college students and employees surveyed globally believes the Internet is a fundamental resource for the human race – as important as air, water, food and shelter, the study found. More than half of the respondents said they could not live without the Internet and cite it as an "integral part of their lives."

“Whereas previous generations preferred socializing in person, the next generation is indicating a shift toward online interaction,” the study brief reads. "More than one in four college students globally (27%) said staying updated on Facebook was more important than partying, dating, listening to music, or hanging out with friends."

The study, the 2011 "Cisco Connected World Technology Report," released in late September, was commissioned by Cisco and conducted by InsightExpress, a third-party market research firm based in the United States.

"The results of the Cisco Connected World Technology Report should make businesses re-examine how they need to evolve in order to attract talent and shape their business models," Marie Hattar, vice president of Enterprise Marketing at Cisco said in a statement. "Without a doubt, our world is changing to be much more Internet-focused, and becomes even more so with each new generation."

"These and numerous other findings provide insight into the mindset, expectations, and behavior of the world's next generation of workers and how they will influence everything from business communications and mobile lifestyles to hiring, corporate security, and companies' abilities to compete," claim Cisco researchers.

The results of the study might be seen as a bit upsetting, especially by those of the previous generation. Gawker, a New York City-based publication that reported on the story Thursday, had the following comment on the study:

"Sustenance! Or, the things you need to sustain your life. Well, that does it. Shut your laptop, turn off your iPad, throw your PC into the garbage. Go outside and look at a tree or open a book. It's okay, I will keep an eye on the Internet for you while you're gone. Yikes, kids, start #LivingYourLife."

"How did I ever make it through college without the internetz? Shucks, I actually had to leave my house to register for class! Unheard of!" one commenter wrote in response to Gawker's article on the study.