Surveys indicate that secondary-school students rate the value of the web for homework and academic research more highly than their parents do. While surveys taken over the past year by the Pew Center indicate that two-thirds of high school students rate the internet as a very positive influence on their academic work, a survey this summer by the Associated Press found that barely half of parents rate the internet highly as a research tool for their children.

In late July, 1,000 adults were asked the following questions by telephone interviewers: “These days, how important is the ability for children to use the internet for schoolwork? Would you say it is extremely important, very important, somewhat important, or not at all important?”

Only 52 percent of parents rated the internet as an “extremely” or “very” important schoolwork resource. That percentage fell slightly as the respondents increased in age. Urban residents were roughly evenly split on the question, but rural residents were decidedly less supportive, as 60 percent rated the internet as “somewhat” or “not” important.

Parents and teachers say the ability of students to plagiarize is a major weakness of using the internet heavily and is one negative consequence of easy access to web-based information. Students, on the other hand, rate the internet highly on surveys because it enables to them gain access to multiple sources of information very quickly.