Girls value character, but also phones and Facebook

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Young women believe their character is more important than their looks, but regard electronic gadgets as their most valued possessions.

The poll of 500 16- to 19-year-old women published by the think-tank Demos finds mobile phones and bedroom computers are the things young women value more than anything else.

It also finds the modern female teenager believes character to be more important than looks.

"Teenage girls are more confident about how others judge their character and personality than how they look," the report says. "They like dressing up, but don't think being attractive helps them get on in life." The most "severe angst" for young women as far as their future is concerned is whether they will earn enough money to sustain themselves in recession. They are also more worried about getting a job than exams.

They are also concerned with getting a better boyfriend and are heavily involved in online networking – although the report warns about this.

"They overwhelmingly use the internet to social network," the report says. "They value the phone in their bag and computers in their rooms more than anything else."

It recommends the setting up of more "women only" social networking sites to offer girls advice and guidance.

The report found that, in general, female teenagers were more unhappy about their prospects than last year – particularly those youngsters from lower socio-economic groups.