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The Internet Education Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to educating the public and policymakers about the potential of a decentralized global Internet to promote communications, commerce and democracy.

U.S. Internet Attitudes Changing: Only One in Four Say Social Networking Sites and Chat Rooms Should Be Adults Only

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Zogby/463 Nationwide Survey Exposes Americans’ Concern Over Kids’ Use of Technology Rapidly Evolving

Washington, DC, March 31, 2008 – A new nationwide survey shows that Americans have a growing comfort level with young people using Internet technologies such as social networking sites, chat rooms and email. The survey – conducted by Zogby International on behalf of the Congressional Internet Caucus Advisory Committee and 463 Communications – still shows large numbers of Americans concerned about the online activity of young people but those views are rapidly changing.

The survey compares results to a similar study conducted last year for the Congressional Internet Caucus Advisory Committee. In the 2008 survey, 27.7 percent of Americans said that social networking sites and chat rooms should be restricted to adults. Yet this was a dramatic decline from an identical 2007 survey in which 35.3 percent said that only adults should participate in social networking and chat sites. In contrast, seniors over age 70 still feel strongly concerned regarding social networking sites. The percentage of seniors who believed that children should wait until their adult years before chatting and social networking actually increased from 34.6 percent in 2007 to 38.3 percent in 2008.

More results from the surveys:

* The percentage of Americans who thought children should not have access to email until they were adults dropped from a sizable 14.7 percent in 2007 to an almost negligible 2.4 percent in 2008.

* The percentage of those who thought that children should wait until adulthood before surfing the Web dropped from 17.4 percent in 2007 to 4.2 percent in 2008.

“The survey results suggest that Americans are increasingly accepting greater use of new online technologies by our young people,” said Tim Lordan, executive director. “Yet the survey shows that it may take some time for many Americans to become comfortable with how kids are social networking and chatting.”

Despite an evolving comfort level with youth use of the Internet, the survey revealed significant concerns with social networking technologies. For instance, a significant majority of those surveyed, 63.2 percent, believed that children under 16 years old should not have use social networking sites and chat rooms. In contrast most of the major social networking sites today prohibit users less than 14 years old.

The 2008 Zogby poll surveyed 3,585 adults and was conducted from January 21-23. It has a margin of error of +/- 1.7 percent. The 2007 Zogby poll surveyed 1,200 adults and was conducted from January 24-26. It has a margin of error of +/- 2.9 percent. 463 Communications helped conceive and develop the survey.

About the Congressional Internet Caucus Advisory Committee: The Congressional Internet Caucus Advisory Committee (ICAC) is a diverse group of public interest, non-profit and industry groups working to educate the Congress and the public about important Internet-related policy issues. The ICAC is a project of the Internet Education Foundation, a 501 (c)(3) charitable organization. http://www.netcaucus.org/

More about Zogby International can be found at http://www.zogby.com/

More about 463 Communications can be found at http://www.463.com/

For more information, contact: Tim Lordan, 202-638-4370 ext 323, tlordan@netcaucus.org

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