Cincinnati, OH – It’s not the dirt, it’s the commerce. Four out of five (79%) school principals and administrators see danger for students on the Internet increasing and commercial and pay sites rank as their greatest concern, according to new research conducted by a New York independent research firm and commissioned by Thinkronize, Inc.
When asked to rate the specific types of dangers facing students on the Internet, 61% of survey respondents said pornography and 58% said adult predators were a great or significant danger. Concern over getting useless or irrelevant results when using search engines was also high at 59%. The issue rated highest, however, at 76% was concern over unauthorized redirection to commercial or pay sites when conducting online research.
From school vending machines to book covers, to sides of buses, advertising in schools is a reality. And now, with the commercialization of the Web, there is a more insidious means that cannot be protected by filters.
“We have 50,000 students in our district and are worried that they are being bombarded by inappropriate ads in the one place that should be all about learning,” said Rita Phillips, technology coordinator, Sacramento City Unified School District. “The Web is creating a new front of concern as we can’t control our students getting redirected to sites that are both unevaluated and irrelevant. This is not only distracting, but brings on financial and time-draining concerns. We have taken steps to block access to music and video downloads as well as blogs, MySpace and gaming sites, but we are still very concerned about our students being redirected to the plethora of commercial sites.”
“This is about online safety and information literacy and we take both very seriously at Thinkronize,” said Randy Wilhelm, CEO of Thinkronize. “Ad-supported sites allow for a wonderful free flow of information. However, as the Internet becomes more and more ubiquitous and commercialized, we need to teach our weaned-on-the-Web children how to evaluate sites and to be critically aware of the ways they are being targeted for potentially dangerous and commercial purposes.”
Data from the study also indicated that educators believe there is significant room to improve the Internet as an educational resource. Today, only 30% rate the Internet as an “excellent” resource. And, when it comes to safety, just over one-third (38%) say the Internet is “very safe.”
“Today’s kids are digital natives, and the reality is that the Internet is a powerful research, communications and collaboration tool,” said Helen Soulé, Executive Director, Cable in the Classroom. “The job that lies before us is teaching parents, kids and educators how to use the Web safely, responsibly and productively. Teaching information and media literacy skills are vital, as is the use of tools like filters and search engines that are built for kids.”
Educators are seeking additional means to solve their concerns and virtually all report taking actions to protect students. Few schools, however, appear to have purchased and installed special search engines designed to meet the needs of school age children (35%). Findings include:
– Installing filters – 100%
– Giving faculty instructions on safety – 90%
– Giving students instructions on safety – 90%
– Providing parents with tips and information – 66%
– Purchased special search engines – 35%
This survey was conducted online in September of 2006.
About David Michaelson & Company, LLC
David Michaelson & Company, LLC is a New York City-based research company that has conducted extensive research in the education and non-profit markets. This study was conducted under the direct supervision of Dr. David Michaelson. Dr. Michaelson has over 25 years experience including work in the U.S., Europe and the Middle East. Further information about the company can be found at www.davidmichaelsoncompany.com.
Thinkronize, an Internet developer of K-12 educational products, was founded in 1999 and grew out of a passion for and commitment to enhancing teaching and learning with the Internet and standards-based online resources. The company launched its flagship product, netTrekker classic, in October 2000 and has since expanded the product line to include netTrekker d.i. , designed for use in schools to help educators meet individual students’ learning needs, and netTrekker home, available for purchase by parents whose district or school has not yet purchased a netTrekker subscription. Peers, educators and parents have honored Thinkronize and the netTrekker product suite 17 times for their contribution to education. Thinkronize currently serves nearly 9.3 million students in 47 states, including adoptions by key districts and states nationwide and is one of the fastest growing companies in the education industry. In August, 2006, Thinkronize was named to the Inc. 500 list, with over 400% growth in three years. For more information visit www.thinkronize.com or phone 877-517-1125.