Usurping the old note passed in study hall, about 40% of teens now depend on instant messaging to say things they wouldn't in person, according to a new poll. "If they freak out or something, you don't see it," one high schooler tells AP. The survey also found—duh—that teens use IM more than older people, and that they're more likely to multi-task on it in ways that would short-circuit oldsters' minds.
One 19-year-old says he's used IM both to start and end relationships. "If you're face to face, you can't close out the window and disappear if you've been rejected," he points out. And conversely, on ending a relationship: "I've had some crazy ex-girlfriends. Saying that in person would probably not be the best idea for my physical safety," he says.