A new U.S. Department of Education report reveals that about 90 percent of people ages 5 to 17 use computers and 59 percent of them use the Internet, rates that are, in both cases, higher than those of adults. Even kindergartners are becoming more plugged in: One out of four 5-year-olds use the Internet.
The figures are from a new Education Department analysis of computer and Internet use by children and adolescents in 2001. A second report from the agency, based on 2002 data, shows 99 percent of public schools have Internet access, up from 35 percent 8 years ago. By the time they're 10 years old, 60 percent of children use the Internet. That number grows to almost 80 percent for kids who are 16. And, like adults, young people are going online for a range of reasons, the research shows. Almost three in four use the Internet for help with school assignments, while more than half use it for writing e-mail, sending instant messages to friends, or playing games.
In the U.S., from rural areas to the suburbs to cities, almost every public school is wired for the Internet and schools now have one computer with Internet access for every 5 students, the research shows. As a result, more children and teens use computers at school than at home.
The report on computer and Internet use by children and adolescents was based on September 2001 interviews conducted with members of about 56,000 U.S. households. The report about Internet access in public schools was based on a fall 2002 survey to a representative sample of schools in the 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. (AP)
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