26% of web users prefer online chats to time with friends

Rise in 'sofalising' blammed on cost of eating and drinking out

More than a quarter (26 percent) of web users spend more time online communicating with their friends than in person, says Yazino.

Research by the multiplayer online casino revealed that 11 percent of adults are more likely to stay in at the weekend and catch up with friends online than go out to meet them in person.

Yazino nicknamed the trend of communicating with friends from a laptop or smart phone while lounging on a sofa rather than chatting over a coffee or beer 'sofalising'. The online casino said the rise in the cost of eating- and drinking out has helped contribute to the surge of people socialising online while staying indoors.

Furthermore, more than one in 10 (11 percent) admit to using social networks such as Facebook and Twitter to organise their social life, while 5 percent admitted to missing out on a party as they didn't see the invite on Facebook or MySpace.

On average, Brits spend 4.6 hours a week chatting to friends via the web and six hours meeting up in person. However, three percent of adults claim to spend more than 25 hours a week communicating with friends online.

However, text messaging remains the most popular for of communication between friends, with 71 percent admitting they send an SMS to their friends every day, while almost a third (31 percent) send message via social networks and 27 percent use email.

Yazino also said web users gain 6.5 new friends via the internet.

"Communication is constantly evolving. Some people are as used to seeing their friends' online avatar as they are their face. We are now just as likely to SMS or email a friend as we are to call them," said Hussein Chahine, Yazino's Founder and CEO.

"People increasingly prefer quick and frequent engagement with instant updates on news than a prolonged chat and are also finding new ways to catch up with friends from their comfort of their sofa."

Tags instant messagingInternet-based applications and servicesInternet & broadband

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Carrie-Ann Skinner

PC Advisor (UK)

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