Teens flock to web for instant messaging

Almost 80% of the world's teenagers use the internet to instant message friends and prefer it to email, according to new research.

The survey, conducted by Habbo, the virtual world for teenagers, found that around 70% of teens still hold active email accounts, however, they mainly use these for non-personal needs such as school or work.

Habbo surveyed 58,486 teens between the ages 11 and 18 from 31 countries to obtain the results, which also revealed that the most popular global websites among teens were YouTube and MySpace.

In the UK alone, the most popular sites were Bebo and YouTube.

Emmi Kuusikko, director of user and market insight for Sulake, Habbo's parent company, said: "Of those surveyed, 50% responded that they forward humorous links and videos to their friends, while 30% regularly upload content, confirming the notion that teenagers have an active online presence."

The survey also investigated brand recognition and found that almost 75% of teenagers believe that familiar brands guide their purchasing decisions. Global well-known brands, such as McDonald's, Coca-Cola and Nokia ranked high for both boys and girls.

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