US teenagers prefer instant messaging rather than e-mail to stay in touch with each other, research shows.
One third of all American teens have sent a text message
A Pew Internet and American Life Project study found online teens are increasingly tech-savvy.
Nearly nine out of 10 teenagers say they use the net, up from 74 percent in 2000, according to the Pew study.
While e-mail is seen as a tool for communicating with adults, instant messaging was proving the most popular way to chat with friends.
Three-quarters 75% of online teenagers in the US have used IM, the survey found, with personalised features proving popular.
Features such as buddy icons are a popular way for teenagers to express and differentiate themselves.
American teenagers are embracing the internet, with 21 million now using the web on a regular basis.
Half of these say they go online every day, according to the Pew study.
WHAT TEENS DO ONLINE
Send or read e-mail: 89%
Visit websites about TV, music or sport stars: 84%
Play online games: 81%
Online news: 76%
Send or receive instant messages: 75%
The amount of time American teenagers are spending online and the range of things they are doing have both increased.
Just over 50% of those online use a broadband connection, 81% play games online, 76% get news online and 43% make purchases.
"Increasing numbers of teenagers live in a world of nearly ubiquitous computing and communication technologies that they can access at will," said report co-author Amanda Lenhart.
Their fondness with being online even extends to when they are physically away from the computer.
"Instant Messaging 'away' messages, in effect, maintain a presence in this virtual IM space," said co-author Mary Madden.
The power users of the online teen world are girls aged 15-17, the survey found.
Some 97% of this age range have used instant messaging, and 57% have sent a text message.
They are also more likely to have bought something online and used the web to search for information on health, religion and entertainment topics.
A representative sample of 1,100 teens between 12 and 17 and their parents in the US were interviewed by phone from 26 October to 28 November last year for the study.