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A survey of teenagers in the US has uncovered an astonishing fact: email, it seems, is for old fogeys, and best left for communicating with the near-dead, such as parents, and "institutions". So what are the hip young kids using to communicate? Instant messenger, of course.

We at El Reg are well ahead of the game on this one, having used IM for years. This news is bound to put the kiddies off, in the same way that grannies in hoodies are trying to reform the fashionably offensive yoof of today.

The survey of 1,100 teenagers, conducted by the nonprofit Pew Internet and American Life Project, found that although 90 per cent of them do use email, instant messaging is their preferred method of communicating with each other.

While adults shun IM in their droves (only 42 per cent have ever used it), three-quarters of teens are at it, most of them using the programs every day. Some even claimed to be using for more than two hours at a time. Heavy.

White kids are more likely to be online than black kids, the survey found, but in general internet use is high, with almost nine out of ten respondents confessing to a web habit. ®

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