September 1, 2001

The Internet and Education

The Internet and Education

The Internet has become an increasingly important feature of the learning environment for teenagers. Research by the Pew Internet & American Life Project shows that teens use the Internet as an essential study aid outside the classroom and that the Internet increasingly has a place inside the classroom.

Here are some of the significant findings from a survey of 754 youths ages 12-17 conducted last November and December:

  • 94% of youth ages 12-17 who have Internet access say they use the Internet for school research and 78% say they believe the Internet helps them with schoolwork.
  • 71% of online teens say that they used the Internet as the major source for their most recent major school project or report.
  • 41% of online teens say they use email and instant messaging to contact teachers or classmates about schoolwork.
  • 34% of online teens have downloaded an online study aid.
  • 18% of online teens say they know of someone who has used the Internet to cheat on a paper or test.
  • 58% of online teens report using Web sites that had been set up specifically for their school or for a particular class.
  • 17% of online teens have created a Web page for a school project.

Here are some of the key findings from a survey of 754 of the parents of those youths:

  • 87% of parents of online teens believe that the Internet helps students with their schoolwork and 93% believe the Internet helps students learn new things.
  • 55% say the Internet has been a good thing for their children; only 6% say it has been a bad thing; 38% say the Internet has no effect one way or the other on their children.
  • 55% say that it is essential for today’s children to learn how to use the Internet in order to be successful and another 40% believe it is important.
  • 28% of these parents have used email to communicate with their children’s teachers.

Other education-related findings in the survey work of the Pew Internet Project:

  • 5% of adult Internet users have taken a class online for college credit. That amounts to more than 5 million people.
  • 53% of adult Internet users have gone online to do research for school or job training. On any given day 8% of adult Internet users are online doing research for school or job training.
  • 52% of adult Internet users have done job-related research online. On a typical day, 16% of Internet users are online doing job-related research. About half of Internet users (more than 50 million people) have access to the Internet at work.