The report, based on a Harris Interactive survey of 1,487 youngsters ages 8-18 in August, found that teens are almost three times as likely as tweens to use instant messaging to stay in touch with their friends, with 74% of teens using IM versus just 26% of tweens. Likewise, 36% of teens say they use text messaging to communicate, compared to just 9% of tweens. And while 81% of tweens say personal conversations are their favorite way to socialize with friends, the number sinks to 53% of teens.
Among the remaining percentage of each demo who say they prefer some other way of staying in touch, 16% of teens prefer IM versus 2% of tweens. In addition, 36% of teens are willing to consider people they know only from the Internet as "friends," more than four times the percentage of tweens who would do so, with just 8%.
Another recent study by Youth Trends, however, found that about 37% of children ages 8-11 use IM at least monthly.