NEW YORK: A total of 78% of US teenagers regularly play online video games, compared with just 65% who use social networking websites like Facebook and MySpace, according a new study by The Pew Internet & American Life Project

The "Generations Online in 2009" report also found that the number of 12–17 year-olds using email fell from 89% in 2005 to 73% last year, a drop attributed to the rise of social networking.

Says Sydney Jones, research assistant at Pew: "Teens really gravitate to these instant forms of communication. They're not likely to be sitting around waiting for e-mail."

Overall, 97% of teenagers play video games of some kind, but just 10% of 12–17 year-olds use "virtual worlds" like Second Life, a figure falling to 2% of older web users aged 18–32.

Among the latter group, 50% of web users regularly play games online, and 67% are active users of social networking services.

Members of both age ranges are more likely to use the web for entertainment than practical purposes according to the survey, which was conducted late last year among 2,253 internet users.

Data sourced from AdWeek (USA); additional content by WARC staff