The Internet is definitely on the curriculum

Nearly 16 million American teenagers have used the Internet at school, which is a 45 percent jump from five years ago, according to a new study.

Still, although the new study, sponsored by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, states that 99 percent of public schools have access to the Internet, 32 percent of all teens do not use it in the schools.

And less than 1 percent of online teenagers said school is the only location where they can get Internet access even if they are not connected from home, the study states.

But although an overwhelming majority of the online teens and their parents believe the Internet helps students do better in school, the study also found that more than one-third of the teens said too many teens use the Internet to cheat on schoolwork. Only 27 percent of parents said the same thing.

Opinions differ even more regarding children who use the Internet before they have started school.

“One-quarter of teenagers agreed that if a child is not using the Internet by the time they start school, they will fall behind their peers, while 44 percent of parents believed the same thing,” according to the study. “While most parents and teens view the Internet as a helpful academic tool, parents are more likely to believe that children must be familiar with the Web by the time they start school.”

Princeton Survey Research Associates conducted telephone interviews of 1,100 parent/child pairs between Oct. 26 and Nov. 28, 2004.

The study found that 87 percent – or 21 million – of young people between the ages of 12 and 17 use the Internet. Of that, 78 percent, or 16 million, have used the Internet in school, compared with 11 millions teens in 2000.

According to the study, three-quarters of online teens use instant messaging, and a majority of those say they use it to talk about homework, tests or schoolwork. Teens also use the Internet to search for information about colleges and other schools.

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