Children in households with a PC available watch significantly less TV than those without a computer, according to a nine-month-long study conducted by the Emerging Technologies Research Group at Find/SVP and Grunwald Associates in New York and sponsored by over 20 computer and media companies.
Twelve focus groups made up of parents and children took part in the study, followed by a 1,200 family in-depth survey. Parents in nearly two-thirds of the households with a PC report that their children spend less time watching TV as a direct result of using the computer. That number rises to nearly three-quarters in households with a CD-ROM drive. And kids aren’t turning to the computer just to play games. Parents estimate that under 40 percent of their children’s time on the computer is spent playing games, though this is the application used most. The rest of the time is divided between doing homework and exploring the Internet.
The study also debunks several myths. It found that young girls actually spend more time using home computers than young boys (though their use begins to trail off sometime between the fourth and seventh grade). And computer hacking children are not cloistered loners locked up with the terminal for days at a time. Parents report that their kids often collaborate on PCs at home or use PCs in other homes and, the study reports, kids who go online are actually more likely to be involved in a wide range of other activities.
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