Magazine article Newsweek

Teenagers and Technology: A Newsweek Poll Shows Familiarity and Optimism

Magazine article Newsweek

Teenagers and Technology: A Newsweek Poll Shows Familiarity and Optimism

Article excerpt

ThIS IS NATIONAL SCIENCE AND Technology Week, which means people everywhere ought to be asking questions like 'How do anacondas eat their prey?" (bite, strangle, swallow) and "What's a pedabyte?" (a thousand trillion bytes). Of course, these are the sorts of facts that school kids chase down regularly--in class and, as a Newsweek Poll discovered, increasingly at home using computers to get online. Overall, teens are upbeat about technology's impact on their lives--even the V-chip, which 71 percent think is a "good idea."

89% OF TEENS USE computers at least several times a week. Teens from lower-income homes use computers as often as kids from wealthier families, but get their access at school more than at home. This suggests that wiring schools is an effective way to close the gap between the haves and have-nots. Teens from families earning less than $25,000 a year were twice as likely to say they never use a computer at home.

61% SURF THE NET. Boys edge out girls in online experience (66 to 56 percent), and wealthier kids are more likely to have surfed. But even those still on the beach were excited about the possibilities. Half surveyed thought the best thing about the Net was that it's like a library, a place to find information; a third think it's better as a shopping mall, where you can hang out and meet friends. Only 14 percent of those who've been online admitted to having seen or done something they "wouldn't want their parents to know about."

92% THINK COMPUTERS WILL improve their educational opportunities; almost as many think technology will create better jobs in the future and help us live longer, healthier lives. …

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