According to a new survey by global firm Pew Research Centre, 36 percent of smartphone owners report using messaging apps such as WhatsApp, Kik or iMessage.

Nearly 17 percent use apps that automatically delete sent messages such as Snapchat or Wickr. Both of these kinds of apps are particularly popular among young adults.

"Half (49 percent) of smartphone owners ages 18 to 29 use messaging apps, while 41 percent use apps that automatically delete sent messages," the findings showed. These apps are free, and when connected to Wi-Fi, they do not use up SMS (Short Messaging Service) or other data.

"Furthermore, they offer a more private kind of social interaction than traditional social media platforms such as Facebook or Twitter," the report found.

Additionally, the report found that 15 percent of online adults say they visit online forums, with users on these sites skewing young (23 percent of the surveyed forum users are 18- to 29-year-olds).

For the report, Pew surveyed about 1,600 internet users over the age of 18 from March to April 2015.Overall, the report -- titled "Mobile Messaging and Social Media" -- found that 85 percent of adults are internet users and 67 percent are smartphone users.

Some 15 percent of internet users read or comment in discussion forums such as reddit, Digg or Slashdot while 10 percent use the blogging website Tumblr.

"Young adults are particularly likely to use both Tumblr and discussion forums more generally, and men are more likely than women to participate in discussion forums online," the findings revealed.