Almost half (49%) of students consider the internet to be as importance as water, food, air and shelter in their lives, and more than half (55%) indicate they could not live without the internet, a study has found.

The study, conducted by Cisco and questioning 1,441 college students in 14 countries, also found that 40% of students consider the internet to be more important in their daily lives than social activities such as dating and going out with friends.

A huge 97% of British students said that they could not live without the internet, or that it would be a struggle to do so.

When asked if they would rather have a car or access to the internet, 64% of students stated that they would rather be online than on the road; surprisingly, more students would rather do their shopping on the high street (61%), opposed to online (39%).

The study highlighted how the younger generations would rather build and maintain relationships online, instead of meeting friends in the real world. Students surveyed in Brazil, Spain, Italy, India and China stated that keeping up to date on Facebook is more important than dating, spending time with friends, listening to music or going to a party.

With regard to news consumption, the UK and China topped the charts, with 64% and 67% of students respectively using a laptop as their primary way of getting information and news. Just 27% of Spanish and Italian students voted the same way. Of the 14 countries surveyed, just 7% of students admitted to getting news and information from newspaper, magazines or books.