The addiction of children to their mobile phones could threaten the very fabric of society, a study suggests.
Many teenagers are fanatical about being always available and are extremely uneasy if unable to contact their friends countless times each day.
If the trend continues, young people will soon be incapable of forming and maintaining relationships without the help of a mobile, the study by a leading sociologist concludes.
One British child in four between the ages of five and 16 now has a mobile phone.
As well as making calls, youngsters are using their handsets to send millions of text messages to friends each day.
The study’s author, Dr Hisao Ishii, said: ‘Teenagers can be seen taking advantage of every spare minute to touch base with their friends.
‘It is not the content of the communication but the act of staying in touch that matters.’
And he warned: ‘Genuine conversation will be driven out by superficial communication, in which the act of contacting one another is all that matters, leading to a deterioration in the quality of relationships. Indeed, the very fabric of society may be threatened.’
Although Dr Ishii’s