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> Press Release
> For Immediate Release (May 4, 1999)
> Contact: Jeffrey Stanger 202.879.6700
>  National Survey Shows Parents Deeply Fearful About
>  the Internet's Influence on Their Children
> Survey Report: http://appcpenn.org/appc/reports/rep27.pdf
> Washington, DC (May 4, 1999) - A national survey of parents in computer
> households released today suggests that parents are deeply fearful about the
> WebŐs influence on their children. The study shows 78% are "strongly" or
> "somewhat" concerned that their children might give away personal
> information on the Internet, and an equal percentage fear children might
> view sexually explicit material. Nearly two-thirds of parents (64%)
> believe
> the Internet can cause their children to become isolated, while only 35%
> say the Internet can have a community-building influence. Half of the
> parents interviewed (49%) claim using the Internet might interfere with
> parentsŐ ability to teach values and beliefs, and 42% believe too much
> Internet use can cause children to develop anti-social behavior.
> Meanwhile, parents also believe that the Internet is an essential tool with
> positive potential: 59% feel children without Internet access are at a
> disadvantage compared to their peers; 75% say the Internet is a place for
> children to discover fascinating, useful things; and 72% say the Internet
> helps their children with their schoolwork.
> "Parents are juggling the dream and the nightmare of the Internet at the
> same time," said Joseph Turow of the Annenberg Public Policy Center and
> author of the report.
> The survey also finds that 32% of American parents with online
> connections are using filtering software, a sign that a substantial proportion
> of parents are taking active strides to shield their children from what
> parents consider harmful content.
> The poll focussed on households with computers to determine what factors
> contribute to having an online connection. It found that despite high hopes
> and strong fears about the WebŐs potential, attitudes towards the Internet
> are not strong predictors of whether households will get an online
> connection. In fact, online and offline parents showed very similar attitudes
> toward the Web. The data suggest that a strong determining factor of
> online use in the home is parentsŐ use of the medium outside the home.
> The results are based on 1,102 interviews with parents of 8-17 year-olds
> with computers in the home. The survey has a margin of error of +/- 3%.
> The survey was conducted by Roper Starch Worldwide.
> The two-part Annenberg report also contained an analysis of one year of
> news stories about the Internet drawn from twelve major newspapers
> nationwide. The study shows that news reports describe the Internet as a
> Jekyll and Hyde phenomenon, a place where crime, sexual predators, and
> potentially objectionable materials abound, but at the same time a necessary
> tool for children. Sex crimes regarding children were featured in one of
> every four articles about the Internet. Two of every three stories focussed
> on the negative aspects of the Internet, mainly sex crimes, pornography and
> privacy invasion.
> "The pressŐ portrayal of the Internet is particularly significant because it
> directly reflects the attitudes of parents, and it may help create them."
> Turow added.

   WW                           Andy Carvin
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