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Monday, 3 September, 2001, 14:43 GMT 15:43 UK
Internet helping with homework
girl typing on pc
Most teenagers rely on the net more than other resources
A majority of US teenagers is using the internet to do school projects at home, a study suggests.

Almost three quarters of middle school and high school students had internet access at home and 94% said they used the net for school research.

Just over 70% of them said they used it more than other resources, according to a survey for the Pew Internet and American Life project.

Just under a quarter said they used libraries the most, according to the survey of 754 parents and children aged 12 to 17, carried out by Princeton Survey Research Associates last November and December.

The study quoted one 15-year-old boy who said: ''Without the internet, you need to go to the library and walk around looking for books.

Vigilance

"In today's world, you can just go home and get into the internet and type in your search term.''

Parents had misgivings about the "dark side" of the net and most were vigilant about their children's use of it.

The researchers found that 55% of parents whose teenage children used the internet regularly "consider it a good thing."

Six percent said the internet was bad, while 38% said it had had no effect on their children.

The survey also found that 18% of students claimed to know someone who had used the internet for cheating. Cheating was more likely the more experienced students became at using the net.

"Cutting and pasting text from a website and into a paper is effortless. So is wholesale copying or purchasing finished essays or reports,'' the study said.

Collaboration

The internet's communication aspects were also a help to students, with 41% saying they used e-mail and instant messaging to contact teachers or classmates about homework.

"If we need help on homework, it's great because you can get three or four people working on a really tough problem together,'' said one 17-year-old girl.

Many parents were also using e-mail to contact teachers.

A third of the online teenagers had downloaded an online study aid, and 58% had used websites set up specifically for their school or class.

See also:

18 Apr 01 | Education
Girls-only computer clubs
02 Mar 01 | Education
Virtual schooling 'pays off'
02 Nov 00 | Education
Lessons from computer use at home
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