When it comes to their science education, teens rate parental involvement as more important to generating their interest than educators or technology-related equipment and courses.

This is a key finding of the Lemelson-MIT Program’s latest Invention Index, an annual nationwide survey of Americans’ perceptions about inventing and innovating. The study contradicts society’s image of teens as isolated technophiles, according to economist and Lemelson-MIT Board Chairman Professor Lester C. Thurow: “As our children know, the latest technology is the oldest technology—brain power plus motivation,” he said. “Our study shows that kids still want attention, support, and guidance from their parents above all else.”

About 55 percent of teens surveyed say encouragement from parents to do well in science is an excellent way to build their interest in the sciences, compared to 35 percent who say “buying computers, technology, and educational equipment” is an excellent idea.

In the study, however, students did rank computers and science laboratories as the areas in which their schools could improve the most in supporting the sciences.

For the complete study, visit the program’s web site at http://web.mit.edu/invent or contact Elliott Frieder at efrieder@mslpr.com.