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Student Computer Use

The narrowing of differences in usage rates at school compared to home is illustrated in figures 1, 2, and 3. Figure 1 shows that the percentage of students using computers at home increases as their parents’ educational attainment increases, but that the percentage using computers at school is more nearly equal across the levels of parental education. Figure 2 shows the same pattern for family income: home computer use rates increase as family income increases, but use of computers at school remains relatively high across all levels of income. Similarly, Figure 3 shows that differences in computer use between racial/ethnic groups tend to be smaller at school than at home.

Figure 1. Percentage of children in nursery school and students in grades K-12 using computers at home and at school, by parent educational attainment: 2003

Figure 1. Percentage of children in nursery school and students in grades K-12 using computers at home and at school, by parent educational attainment: 2003

SOURCE: Figure 2 in DeBell, M., and Chapman, C. (2006). Computer and Internet Use by Students in 2003 (NCES 2006–065). U.S. Department of Education. Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics.


Figure 2. Percentage of children in nursery school and students in grades K-12 using computers at home and at school, by family income: 2003

Figure 2. Percentage of children in nursery school and students in grades K-12 using computers at home and at school, by family income: 2003

SOURCE: Figure 3 in DeBell, M., and Chapman, C. (2006). Computer and Internet Use by Students in 2003 (NCES 2006–065). U.S. Department of Education. Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics.


Figure 3. Percentage of children in nursery school and students in grades K-12 using computers at home and at school, by race/ethnicity: 2003

Figure 3. Percentage of children in nursery school and students in grades K-12 using computers at home and at school, by race/ethnicity: 2003

SOURCE: Figure 4 in DeBell, M., and Chapman, C. (2006). Computer and Internet Use by Students in 2003 (NCES 2006–065). U.S. Department of Education. Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics.


Single-Location Internet Users

Table 1 looks at students who access the Internet through one location only. Such students make up approximately 34 percent of all students who use the Internet and number approximately 11.7 million. Looking at the data in this way helps to more clearly illustrate the role schools play in providing Internet access for students by showing how heavily students from some backgrounds rely on schools for access. The table shows that the home is the most likely point of access among those who access the Internet from only one location. More than half of single-location Internet users rely solely on home access. However, several groups of single location users—those from households where no parents have education beyond a high school credential, those from monolingual Spanish households, those in poverty, those with family incomes below $35,000 per year, those living outside metropolitan areas, and Black and American Indian students—rely more heavily on access to the Internet from school than on access from any other single location. Sixty-three percent of students who have no parent who has earned a high school credential and who have only one point of access for the Internet rely on school facilities for this access. Conversely, 24 percent of students who use the Internet in only one place and who live with parents who attended graduate school do so through school facilities. Among students with a single point of access, those from Spanish-monolingual households are more likely to rely solely on school for access, compared to other students (55 percent compared to 39 percent). Likewise, poor students who use the Internet in only one place were more likely than other students to rely solely on school as an access point (60 percent compared to 33 percent).

Table 1. Percentage of single-location Internet-using children in nursery school and students in grades K-12 who use the internet at specific locations: 2003


 Internet use locations
 
Number of
students

Own home

School

Public Library
Someone else's
home
User characteristic (in thousands) Percent s.e. Percent s.e. Percent s.e. Percent s.e.
    Total11,651561.0401.020.320.3
Student characteristic
 Grade level
  Nursery school699713.7233.421.141.6
  Kingergarten653624.1303.921.362.0
  1-54,345521.6441.620.420.4
  6-82,466552.2412.120.720.6
  9-123,489581.8391.820.610.4
 Race/ethnicity1
  White7,467641.2331.210.320.3
  Hispanic1,945433.8503.841.631.3
  Black1,512353.2593.331.231.1
  Asian395636.3336.152.8#0.5
  American Indian802712.97113.2##24.5
  More than one race253637.9357.8##32.6
 School enrollment
  Public10,209541.1421.120.320.3
  Private1,442742.5202.320.930.9
Family & household characteristic
 Parent educational attainment
  Less than high sch. credential961293.2633.461.621.0
  High school credential2,738412.0532.130.720.6
  Some college3,333601.8371.810.420.6
  Bachelor's degree1,837682.3302.310.610.4
  Graduate education2,324732.0241.910.520.6
 Household language
  Spanish-only406365.2535.493.021.4
  Not Spanish-only11,245571.0391.020.320.3
 Poverty status
  In poverty1,717303.5603.761.741.5
  Not in poverty8,121631.7331.620.520.5
 Family income
  Under $20,0001,511302.5602.751.351.2
  $20,000-$34,9991,702402.6532.651.130.9
  $35,000-$49,9991,616572.7402.610.710.6
  $50,000-$74,9992,041672.3312.220.710.4
  $75,000 or more2,968761.7221.7#0.220.6
 Metropolitan status
  Metropolitan, central city2,391552.2392.240.820.6
  Metropolitan, not central city5,305631.4341.420.420.4
  Non-metropolitan2,230442.8522.820.820.8
# Rounds to zero.
1White, Black, Asian, More than one race, and American Indian respectively indicate White, non-Hispanic; Black, non-Hispanic; Asian or Pacific Islander, non-Hispanic; More than one race, non-Hispanic; and American Indian, Aleut, or Eskimo, non-Hispanic. Hispanics may be of any race.
NOTE: s.e. is standard error. Detail may not sum to totals because of rounding or missing data.
SOURCE: Table 7 in DeBell, M., and Chapman, C. (2006). Computer and Internet Use by Students in 2003 (NCES 2006–065). U.S. Department of Education. Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics.

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