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Teen Illegal-Drug Use Declines, Study Says

Overall drug use in a one-year period during 2002 and 2003 declined for 8th, 10th, and 12th graders, concludes a recent report sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

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During that period, use of illegal drugs declined by 1.7 percentage points for 8th graders, 2.8 points for 10th graders, and 1.7 points for 12th graders.

The report, the 2003 "Monitoring the Future" study, also shows continued declines in teenage smoking, though researchers warn that "the rate of decline is slowing appreciably."

The results are based on survey data from about 50,000 students in those grades.

—Darcia Harris Bowman

Cyber-Savvy Children

As children and teenagers have become more skillful in using technology, they and their parents have expressed increasing levels of frustration that schools do not provide enough technology experiences for students.

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That conclusion comes from a report released by Grunwald Associates, a research and consulting firm in San Mateo, Calif.

For example, about half the 9- to 17-year-olds surveyed for the report said they did not get enough online time in school, an increase from 27 percent in 2000.

In another finding, the report says that more than 2 million American children ages 6 to 17 have their own personal Web sites. That figure represents 10 percent of the children in this age group who have Internet access at home, according to the report.

"Children, Families, and the Internet" is based on a survey of more than 2,200 6- to 17-year-olds and more than 1,300 parents of children ages 2 to 17.

—Kevin Bushweller

World's Children

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About 121 million children of primary school age worldwide are not attending school, the United Nations Children's Fund says.

In an annual report released last month, the New York City-based UNICEF says the majority of those children, 65 million, are girls.

—Kevin Bushweller

Student Harassment

A survey of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students has found a relationship between the harassment encountered by such students and their grade point averages and college aspirations.

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Four out of five such students said they were being verbally, sexually, or physically harassed at school because of their sexual orientation, according to the 2003 National School Climate Survey by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, or GLSEN.

The advocacy group's survey also found that such teenagers who reported significant amounts of verbal harassment had lower GPAs—2.9, on average, compared with 3.3 for such students who said they face less verbal abuse.

The study surveyed 887 middle and high school students in 48 states and the District of Columbia.

—Karla Scoon Reid

Teenage Sex

Two-thirds of teenagers who have had sex said they wish they had waited longer before engaging in the behavior, according to a survey.

Released last month by the Washington-based National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, the survey also found that the overwhelming majority of teenagers responding, 85 percent, expressed the belief that sex should occur only in a long-term, committed relationship.

The survey of 1,000 people ages 12 to 19 also questioned 1,008 adults age 20 or older. The adults were asked questions regarding the appropriate age for teenagers to be sexually active, teenage use of contraception, and other matters.

—Kevin Bushweller

Preschool Poll

Eighty-five percent of women who responded to a recent poll said they strongly believe that preschool education programs should be made available to all families, and 55 percent said that preschool education would be an important issue they would weigh when voting.

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More information about the poll is available from the People for the American Way or by calling (202) 467-4999.

Commissioned by the Washington-based advocacy group People for the American Way, the nationwide poll surveyed 761 women who are registered but infrequent voters to gauge attitudes about early-childhood-education issues and how those issues might engage women in civic participation.

—Kevin Bushweller

Vol. 23, Issue 16, Page 15

Published in Print: January 7, 2004, as Report Roundup
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