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What's At Stake?—
Why Computers Matter to Your Child

The information age is arriving at lightning speed. Children and young people are among the most active citizens of the new era, and are often first in their family to use the new media. Some parents and other guardians of young people are enthusiastic about the new technologies; others desperately hope these changes will just go away.

However, there is little doubt that computers are here to stay and that they're changing the way young people learn, play, and get ready for their work life.

  • In the year 2000, an estimated 60 percent of new jobs in America require technological skills and computer know-how.¹
  • In the early 1990s, workers with computer skills earned 10-15% more than workers without such skills.²

And children are increasingly using new technologies in their schools, libraries, homes, and communities.

  • Estimates show that in May 1997, nearly 10 million children were online either at home, at school, or in the community—a five-fold increase from fall 1995.³
  • For the 50 million children now in U.S. elementary and secondary schools, 27% of classrooms have Internet access and 78% of schools have some kind of access to the Internet.4

In addition, parents understand that computer skills are important. In fact, 89% of parents believe computer skills are important to educational success.5

But parents face uncharted territory, and the technologies are evolving so quickly it seems hard to get a handle on what this new territory really is. One parent commented:

"...it's like being illiterate in a world of readers. We don't know enough about what's out there to know what to be concerned about."

In addition, not all parents can afford a computer in the home, and not all schools are yet integrating technology into learning-creating a gap between children who are prepared for information-era jobs and those who aren't.

How can a parent teach, when there's so much to learn? This new challenge may seem unlike any other you've faced before as a parent. But, in fact, many of the answers lie in common sense, some basic experience, regular vigilance, and sensible guidelines for children.


How Parents Can Help

At School

Make sure your child's school has the appropriate technology and uses it to enhance learning.


At Home

Make sure your child is involved in fun, useful, and safe activities online.


In the Community

Make sure that the education and technology needs of all children are being met. Contact your library, school board, city council, and your county, state, and federal.

 


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