GOOD NEWS ABOUT
Recent studies and
surveys tracking children and the Internet reveal:
* Education is the
key driver for family Internet use today. Both parents and
children say that kids spend more Internet time on learning
activities than anything else. Students see the Internet
as a virtual textbook and reference library, a virtual tutor
and as a place to conduct virtual study groups, and as a
virtual guidance counselor when they are deciding about
careers and colleges.
* The Internet is
the primary source of information for US schoolchildren
according to 71% of poll respondents. 41% said they use
email and instant messaging to contact teachers or classmates
about homework, and 34 % say they have downloaded study
aids from the Internet.
* The gender gap between
boys' and girls' Internet use has disappeared. For the first
time, girls are on the Net in proportions equal to or greater
than boys; and mothers seem poised to outnumber fathers
* The racial divide
is narrowing, with 50% of Hispanic children now using the
Internet from some location, and 58 % of African-American
children using the Internet, as compared to 19% in 2000.
Low-income children's access underwent a 96% growth increase,
from 28 percent in 2000 to 55 percent in 2002.
* Schools are "leveling
the playing field," with 25% of children who do not
have access to a computer at home able to access one at
school, nearly equal across all income, race and ethnic
groups. Children's Internet access from school is expected
to surpass home access by the end of 2003.
* Kids are wising
up to online dangers, and parents have an impact. Only 11%
of the 4 million 7-16 year olds surveyed would give out
their home address online to get free samples, gifts, or
information. Of those who wouldn't -- 41 % said it was because
their parents had told them not to. In June 2000, 29% say
they would have done so.
© Natalie Walker