Mobile Phone

Gender stereotypes may have to be revised after new research has revealed that men are more likely than women to keep in touch with friends by phone instead of relying on social networking sites like Facebook.

Men are also more likely to spend more time talking to friends and family abroad than women, according to a survey of 2,000 Britons conducted by mobile phone app company FooTalk.

Speaking directly over the phone means that men's conversations are more in-depth than women's, who are more reliant on the brief social media text update.

Women make an average of one call abroad a week, and spend on average 22 minutes talking, while men make two calls, lasting 40 minutes in total.

The study showed that men also send more text messages to friends and family abroad.

Seven in ten Brits now have friends or relatives living abroad, mostly in Australia, Canada or the USA, but with increasing numbers in China and South Africa.

Relationships expert and agony aunt Susan Quilliam said: "The classic joke is that it's the girls who are on the phone for hours. But actually now it's guys who are becoming bigger fans of the phone conversation - particularly if they want to be in touch with friends and family who've moved abroad.

"And they're absolutely right to want that, hearing someone's voice is a far richer experience than simply seeing words on screen. You get to not only learn more about what the other person's thinking and feeling, but they get to learn more about you."

The study also showed that whereas women sent on average five text messages to friends abroad every week, men sent eight.

Social media have also allowed more than a third (36 percent) to track down old friends who have moved abroad.

Graeme Hutchinson, co-founder of FooTalk, said: "Facebook and Twitter might keep you abreast of your friends' lives but there's always more to be had from a conversation - even if the other person is in a different country."