A recent survey of school-age children by Opinion Research Corp. underscores the importance of home internet access–and especially broadband access–to students. The national survey of 1,002 six- to 17-year-olds, conducted for SBC Communications Inc., found that students of all ages believe the internet helps them succeed in school, with more than 70 percent of all kids surveyed saying it helps them make better grades.

According to the survey, nine of 10 teens use the internet to find information for class assignments, and more than 70 percent of six- to 11-year-olds use it for that purpose. Eighty percent of older students are given internet assignments to complete at school, and nearly 65 percent go online at home to complete internet-related homework. Nearly 60 percent of six- to 11-year-olds are completing internet projects at school, and more than 30 percent have internet-related work to complete at home.

Overwhelmingly, school children are using the internet instead of their textbooks or traditional reference books to complete their schoolwork, the survey found. Among 12- to 17-year-olds, more than four in five use the internet to look for better information compared with what they can find in their school books, and nearly 60 percent are bypassing the dictionaries, thesauruses, and encyclopedias on their bookshelves and going online for these resources. In addition, more than 30 percent of six- to 11-year-olds said they use online dictionaries, thesauruses, and encyclopedias.

The survey shows that almost 85 percent of pre-teens and more than 60 percent of teens think their teachers do a good to excellent job helping them learn and use the internet. In addition, almost 90 percent of six- to 11-year-olds are satisfied with their teacher’s internet knowledge. About seven in 10 students surveyed believe their teachers give them enough time to spend on the internet at school.

However, when it comes to who knows most about using the internet, attitudes shift as children grow older, the survey suggests. Young children see their parents or teachers as the experts on the internet; teenagers view themselves and their peers as being more knowledgeable. Nearly 90 percent of six- to 11-year-olds give high marks to their teachers, parents, and other relatives for their internet knowledge, while nearly 55 percent of 12- to 17-year-olds believe they or their friends know more about the web.

For complete survey results, see http://www.sbc.com/schoolsurvey.

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