TEXTING is now the most popular way to stay in contact, an Ofcom report has found.

Published as the text message celebrates its 20th birthday, the Communications Market Report 2012 found that 90% of 16 to 24-year-olds text daily, compared to only 63% who talk face to face.

It also found that texting is now most prolific among 12 to 15-year-olds, who send an average of 193 texts every week, almost four times the UK average.

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The first text was sent on December 3, 1992, when Neil Papworth, 22, a British engineer, used his computer to send the message "Merry Christmas" to an Orbitel 901 mobile phone.

According to media regulator Ofcom, the average UK consumer sends around 50 texts every week.

James Thickett, Ofcom's director of research, said: "Texts have surpassed phone calls and meeting face to face as the most frequent way of keeping in touch, revolutionising the way we socialise, work and network."