Study: Computer and Internet Use by Students in 2003

Just in time for the DOPA vote in the Senate:
“One of the more important findings presented in the report is that schools appear to help narrow the disparities between different types of students in terms of computer use. Differences in the rates of computer use are smaller at school than they are at home when considering such characteristics as race/ethnicity, family income, and parental education.”

“Computer and Internet Use by Students in 2003” a National Center for Education Statistics Study examines the use of computers and the Internet by American children enrolled in nursery school and students in kindergarten through grade 12. The report looks at the overall rate of use (that is, the percentage of individuals in the population who are users), the ways in which students use the technologies, where the use occurs (home, school, and other locations), and the relationships of these aspects of computer and Internet use to demographic and socioeconomic characteristics such as students’ age and race/ethnicity and their parents’ education and family income.

According to the findings from the study, 91% of students in nursery school through grade twelve used computers in school, and 59% used the computers at school; 83% of students in nursery school through grade twelve used the Internet at school while 68% accessed the Internet from at home – my interpretation is that 25% of students surveyed don’t have home Internet, and 17% have Internet exposure ranging from zero to elsewhere (friend, cafe, library, etc). Could this mean that a QUARTER of the Internet-using youth population will be cut off from accessing social software web sites in schools–from using tools that have revolutionized the way we work and learn–when DOPA passes in the Senate?

The survey of nearly 30,000 students included a question about video game use on home computers – 56% play games at home on their computers. Also, the is a correlation between parents’ level of education and likelihood that children play games at home.

No data is presented on for in school gaming on computers, but 38% of students say they play games online. No differentiation was made between the school/home location in this report – a question “where do you access each activity?” would be very interesting.

You can download, view and print the publication as a PDF file.

About Beth Gallaway

Beth Gallaway was named a Library Journal Mover & Shaker in 2006 for her work in advocating for videogames in libraries. She is an independent library trainer/consultant specializing in gaming, technology, and youth services, and is a YALSA certified Serving the Underserved (SUS) trainer.
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One Comment

  1. Linda Braun [Member]

    I’m really curious about what has changed in the three years since the data was collected. More schools have initiated laptop programs. Technology sure has moved on in some ways. Does anyone out there think the stats would be different in any way if collected today? What would be different? (I do realize that asking for up-to-the-minute numbers is not realistic for a survey like this.)

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