Poll: Instant Messaging (IM) Gap in U.S.

Almost half of teens (48%) ages 13-18, use instant messaging, which is more than twice the percentage of adults who use it - an "instant messaging gap" between teens and adults -, according to AP-AOL survey. Technology for instant messaging has been available for about a decade - AOL, Yahoo and Microsoft's MSN IM.

Highlights from the AP-AOL poll:

  • Almost three-fourths of adults who do use instant messages still communicate with e-mail more often. Almost three-fourths of teens send instant messages more than e-mail.
  • More than half of the teens who use instant messages send more than 25 a day, and one in five send more than 100. Three-fourths of adult users send fewer than 25 instant messages a day.
  • Teen users (30%) are almost twice as likely as adults (17%) to say they can't imagine life without instant messaging.
  • When keeping up with a friend who is far away, teens are most likely to use instant messaging, while adults turn first to e-mail.
  • About a fifth of teen IM users have used IM to ask for or accept a date. Almost that many, 16%, have used it to break up with someone.

However, when sharing serious or confidential news, both teens and adults prefer to use the telephone, the poll said.

The survey of 1,013 adults and 500 teens was conducted online by Knowledge Networks from Nov. 30-Dec. 4.  

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