Parents See Net as Education Aid

Parents are looking to the Internet as a tool to become more involved in their children’s education, according to a study by Learning and Yankelovich Partners.

More than three-quarters (78 percent) of parents polled say that they would become more involved with their children’s education if they had greater access to teachers, curriculum, and event schedules via the Internet as a tool to become more involved in their children’s education, the study found. More than half (53 percent) of parents feel that their children would benefit from individualized attention, tailored to their unique learning styles and capabilities.

The study also revealed that 48 percent of the parents of school-aged children wish they could play a more active role in class trips and other educational activities. Forty-seven percent would like to be more involved in their children’s extra-curricular activities. More than two-fifths (44 percent) of parents would like to be more involved or aware of their child’s homework and other assignments. More than one-third (34 percent) would like to be more involved in PTA meetings.

“Parents know that they need to be involved in their children’s education and many are looking for Web-based tools to provide them with access to teachers, administrators, counselors, etc., to become involved in a more meaningful way,” said Learning CEO Mark Thimmig.

Additional findings of the survey include:

  • 73 percent of parents polled feel that it is easy to speak with their children’s teachers. An equal number say they would become more involved with their children’s schools if they could talk to their teachers and access information about their day-to-day classroom activities using the Internet.
  • More than two-fifths of parents of school-age children (42 percent) spend between two and a half and 10 hours a week with their children in school-related activities.
  • A quarter of parents (25 percent) spend two and a half hours or less per week helping their children with their homework.
  • Four percent of parents say they spend no time with their child at all on work-related to school.

The study was conducted through interviews with more than 1,000 regionally representative, randomly selected Americans aged 18 or older with 26 percent reporting having children in K-12.

A survey by the National School Boards Foundation (NSBF) has found the main reason cited by parents for buying home computers and obtaining home Internet access is for their children’s learning/education (45 percent).

The NSBF study, “Safe & Smart: Research and Guidelines for Children’s Use of the Internet,” is based on interviews with a random sample of 1,735 parents of children aged 2-17 and 601 children between the ages of nine and 17.

Contrary to some earlier findings, the NSBF study found the Internet does not cause Americans to spend less time with their families. Nearly all (95 percent) of those surveyed said that family interactions have increased or stayed the same.

The study also found that schools have an opportunity to help narrow the gap between the technology haves and have-nots. Schools already provide significant Internet access for students who otherwise would not have access. According to the study, in families with incomes less than $40,000, 76 percent of 9-17 year olds who use the Internet say that they log on at school; in African-American families, 80 percent of 9-17 year olds say they log on at school.

Girls use the Internet as much as boys (50 percent of 9-12 year olds girls are online, compared with 46 percent of boys; 73 percent of 13-17 year old girls use the Net, contrasted with 70 percent of boys. Girls, however, are much more likely to go online for education, schoolwork, entertainment, and games.

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