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Bridging The Techno-Gap

According to a CBS News poll out this week there is a new generation gap in American families.

Nearly seven in ten parents say that when it comes to the Internet kids know more than adults. But as CBS News Correspondent Russ Mitchell reports, there are ways to bridge this "techno-gap" and some of the solutions aren't high tech at all.


"The big problem with the technology gap between parents and kids is that the new technology is about information," says Brian Schwartz who works for Intel, the computer chip manufacturer, in Chandler, Ariz.

Schwartz points out, this is the first time that kids have more information than their parents, not just about the computer, but information about the world in general.

"What happened at Littleton illustrated to many parents that have computers in their homes that there is information out there that their kids can get in three clicks of the mouse," he adds.

So he's started giving talks like this one at the local Boys and Girls Club strictly as a volunteer--to try to close the gap--that has left a lot of parents feeling powerless and left out.

"If you are talking about computers heck, I'd pretty much say teens rule on computers versus parents," is the opinion of seventeen year old Estevan Varelas, a member of the Class of 2000, who was joined by his mother.

He even says he places her "like on a zero on a Richter Scale, between one and ten," and his mother, Susie Rubi even uses a computer at work.

"Our parents had to worry about the real world, where we were going and hanging out with at the playground, and what we were doing at the mall," notes Schwartz. "We as parents have the added safety worry of the Internet."

According to the CBS News poll, that worry may be widespread. Nearly three quarters of parents whose kids go online think their children have visited web sites that are pornographic, violent, or are sponsored by hate groups.

His message is that parents in today's world also have to be parents in cyberspace, a notion that would have baffled Dr. Spock.

"It's not the same as the physical world. In the physical world there are built in safety factors," explains Schwartz which is something that Susie Rubi, and the other parents are beginning to understand.

"I have to learn. There is no doubt should I, or when. I have to learn," she says.

And according to the CBS News poll, most Americans think the benefits of the Internet outweigh its potential harm to kids. The most favored way to keep them away from any danger is to actually be with them as they surf.

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