Students Turn to PCs, Net for Homework

Two out of three children who have a computer at home use it to do homework, according to a study by NPD Online Research, which also found that 85 percent of those students also use the Internet to complete school assignments at home.

NPD’s online survey was completed by 2,143 parents. The parents reported that most student activity on the Web is monitored, and three-quarters of the parents reported they play an active role in helping their children complete homework assignments on the Web.

According to the study, on an average night, most children finish up to one hour of schoolwork using a home PC, with half an hour spent online. Although children most frequently used the computer at home for special reports and research, the study found that home PCs fulfilled a variety of school-related needs for students.

School-Related Activities That Children
Use Computers for at Home
Special reports 88%
Reference source 85%
Educational software 54%
Nightly homework 50%
Communicate with school friends 43%
Standard test preparation
(SAT, PSAT, ACT, etc.)
Source: NPD Online Research

“There are so many educational resources available online and off, it’s not surprising that computers are being used for homework,” said Pamela Smith, VP of NPD Online Research. “The fact that 73 percent of parents confirmed that their children are using a computer at school might be encouraging home computer use. Parents are realizing that computers and the Internet can be an important part of their child’s education.”

As a study aid, respondents to NPD’s survey gave the Web high marks. According to the survey, 19 percent of children always found information online for their assignments. Another 65 percent located information most of the time, while 17 percent retrieved something appropriate some of the time. Few children signed off of the Web empty handed, as only 1 percent rarely found anything.

The survey also found that most children shared the computer they used for schoolwork at home with others. Many shared with family members, as 85 percent of students used the family PC to do their schoolwork at home. Only 15 percent of children did homework on their own computer. This number should increase, according to the survey. Among parents polled whose children used the family PC, 25 percent intend to buy a new computer for their child in the next six months.

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