Parents Are More Web-Wary Than Teachers

Survey shows teachers are twice as likely to think the Internet helps build social skills.

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Teachers are more upbeat than parents about the Internet's value in helping kids learn social skills, according to a survey released today.

About two thirds of parents said they don't think the Internet helps kids' communication skills, according to a nationally representative poll of 700 parents. Most parents said they actively discourage their kids, for example, from visiting and posting on social networking sites.

The issue was part of a broader survey on how parents view digital media by Common Sense Media, a nonprofit group that promotes responsible use of electronic content. Its board includes educators, parents, and business leaders, some of whom help produce media.

Teachers, meanwhile, are twice as likely as parents to think the Web aids in developing social skills. About 60 percent of teachers, in fact, think parents underestimate the educational value of electronic media. And while viewing video games skeptically, teachers are a bit more likely than parents to think even they can help teach social skills. Maybe that's because educators aren't dealing as much with kids' obsessive behavior at home.

Parents and teachers largely agree, however, that "educational" media largely oversell their usefulness as teaching aids.