72% of Kids Believe Adults Have Overreacted to Y2K

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72% of Kids Believe Adults Have Overreacted to Y2K - Junior Achievement Survey Of 1,500 Kids Reveals COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., Dec. 15 /PRNewswire/ -- An extensive survey of kids and Y2K by Junior Achievement reveals that 72% of kids believe adults have overreacted to Y2K. In contrast, kids are overwhelmingly excited about Y2K and the prospects of the new millennium. The survey, entitled Y2Kids: Children's Views of the New Millennium, was conducted the first week of December. A total of 1,449 kids ages 8-18 were asked to give their impressions of Y2K, the twentieth century and the new millennium.

Adults have overreacted to Y2K

The 72% of kids surveyed who believe adults have overreacted to Y2K represent 40 million of the 58 million school-age children in America. Kids believe adults have overreacted most to potential problems related to the Internet, credit cards, TV and utilities. On the flip side, they believe adults have not reacted enough to problems related to military systems. Additionally, older students are more likely to think adults have made too much of a big deal about Y2K.

Kids are excited, a bit uncertain

While adults are busy stockpiling food, withdrawing extra money from their bank accounts and planning not to fly on New Year's Day, kids are getting excited about the new millennium. Asked to describe their strongest feeling about Y2K, more than half of the kids surveyed (53%) say they are excited. One-quarter express feelings of uncertainty, 16% are nervous and 8% are afraid of the coming of the new millennium.

Boys are more excited about Y2K than girls, who are more apt to express feelings of uncertainty, nervousness and fear about Y2K. Elementary school students are twice as fearful of Y2K as middle and high school students, but they also express higher levels of excitement than the older students. They are excited about the idea of a new millennium but worried that adults might be right in expecting some potentially scary problems caused by the Y2K bug.

TV is the primary source of information

Television is the primary source of Y2K information for kids. Eighty-six percent (86%) of students have learned about Y2K from TV. Radio and friends follow TV as secondary sources with 61% of kids turning to them for information. Six-out-of-ten kids learn about Y2K from their parents, newspapers or magazines. One-in-five students get millennial guidance from a religious figure.

Based on the percentage of kids who correctly identified the ``Y2K bug'' as a computer calendar's inability to convert dates from 1999 to 2000, religious figures, movies, magazines and newspapers provide young people with the most accurate understanding of the Y2K bug. Television, the most prevalent source of Y2K information, leaves students with the least accurate perception of the Y2K bug and the greatest feeling of uncertainty about it. Parents are seventh in a list of nine sources in providing accurate information about Y2K. They also are the source of the greatest feelings of nervousness about the new millennium. Students who consult their parents for Y2K information are the most worried about the safety of their money in their bank accounts and have higher levels of concern about their home computers and Internet services.

What is the ``Y2K bug''?

Two-thirds of respondents correctly identified the ``Y2K bug'' as a computer calendar's inability to convert dates from 1999 to 2000. Thirty-six percent (36%) think the Y2K bug is either a computer virus, the newest Pokemon, a genetically-engineered insect or a seasonal flu. They represent 20 million kids who do not know what the Y2K bug is. Older students have a better understanding of the Y2K bug. While less than half of elementary school students correctly identified the Y2K bug, 63% of middle school students and 76% of high school students defined it correctly.

Problems caused by Y2K

Students were asked whether they believe the Y2K bug will cause problems in 12 specific areas, ranging from emergency services, banks and utilities to home computers, airplanes and military systems. Two-thirds of those surveyed, representing 38 million young people in the general populace, think computers will have significant problems because of Y2K. More than 50% think the Internet and banks will suffer malfunctions. Another 44% are concerned about credit cards working properly.

One-third of kids think military systems and airplanes will malfunction. One-quarter are worried that emergency systems such as police and fire departments will be hampered, while a similar number think their Nintendo 64 or Playstation will be on the fritz. Thirty-nine percent of young people, representing 23 million kids age 8-18, think there will be significant problems across-the-board.

Specific problems-bank accounts, home computers, the Internet

Kids with bank accounts are four times more likely to be worried about the safety of their money than kids without bank accounts. More than one-quarter of students think their personal computer will crash and 30% predict that their Internet service will not work. Younger students are more worried about each of these problems than older students.

Despite the predictions of problems caused by Y2K, kids are still excited about the event. Growing up during an era of record prosperity in America, kids see a prosperous future ahead and presume that all problems will be solved and all obstacles will be overcome. The Y2K bug is merely a small bump in the road to a new millennium that will usher dynamic technological and social advances.

Predictions about the new millennium

Kids were asked to rate the likelihood of 20 possible innovations in science, medicine, space, politics and social reform becoming reality in the next millennium. Of the 20 prospects, kids chose the election of the first woman president (79%) as the most likely event to occur.

In the realm of science, 73% believe videophones will replace telephones, while 60% believe we will travel in flying cars, humans will be cloned and robots will be a part of daily life. Star Trek fans will be happy to know that 25% of kids think ``beaming'' will be a standard mode of transportation. If the 31% of kids who believe time travel will be possible by the year 3000 are correct, then people in 2999 will be able to return to our time to find out how we dealt with the passing of one millennium into another.

The kids surveyed predict significant medical advances. Forty-three percent (43%) believe doctors will operate without making incisions and 34% believe we will have computer chips implanted in our brains to improve memory. One-in-five students predict that medical technology will be so advanced that it will enable males to give birth. But even with 1,000 years of medical improvements, only 18% believe we will eliminate disease outright.

If the kids surveyed are correct, the final frontier will become very familiar to humans. Seventy percent (70%) predict we will live on other planets. Another 36% believe we will visit other galaxies and 51% believe we will discover alien life as we explore new worlds. Young people also envision revolutions in politics, society and economics. Close to half of students believe we will no longer use paper money, one-in-five believe we will live under a single world government and 17% predict that we will end poverty altogether.

In order to achieve such extraordinary feats, the twenty-first century will need leaders and visionaries who excel at what they do and shape society through their efforts. The five most significant people of the 20th century and the events that have defined the last 100 years represent a diversity of missions and accomplishments.

People and Events of the Century

Martin Luther King Jr. is the Person of the Century according to the kids surveyed. He received twice as many votes as any other person. The choice for Event of the Century is testimony that kids acknowledge the sacrifices of the ``Greatest Generation,'' those who fought and died in World War II.

People of the Century 1. Martin Luther King Jr. 2. Albert Einstein 3. Michael Jordan 4. Bill Gates 5. Bill Clinton Events of the Century 1. World War II 2. The computer 3. Moon landing 4. Space exploration 5. Civil Rights movement People and Events of the Millennium

George Washington is the Person of the Millennium according to kids age 8-18. He also is the ``father'' of the Event of the Millennium -- the American Revolution. Christopher Columbus and his discovery of the New World rank second for each category.

People of the Millennium 1. George Washington 2. Christopher Columbus 3. Abraham Lincoln 4. Albert Einstein 5. Benjamin Franklin Events of the Millennium 1. American Revolution 2. Discovery of the New World 3. Discovery of Electricity 4. World War II 5. End of slavery Junior Achievement

Junior Achievement is the world's largest and fastest growing provider of economic education for young people. Since 1919, Junior Achievement has educated and inspired young people to value free enterprise, business and economics to improve the quality of their lives. JA currently reaches more than 3.6 million students, k-12, in the United States and 1 million more young people in nearly 100 countries worldwide.

The Y2Kids study is part of a series of surveys on kids and issues related to economics issues called the Interprise Poll. The series includes surveys on summer jobs, personal finance, careers and leadership.

For information or a complete report, contact Monte Lutz at (719) 540-6171 or mlutz@ja.org. The report and links to Y2K resources for kids also are available on the Junior Achievement website at www.ja.org.

SOURCE: Junior Achievement

-- Steve (hartsman@ticon.net), December 15, 1999


Adults have overreacted to Y2K

"Sorry, lil' Johnny, you can't have that Game Boy this Christmas, we've got to get some extra insulin for Grandma."

Yep, to a kid, that's an overreaction. Us grownups just don't understand.


-- Y2Kook (Y2Kook@usa.net), December 15, 1999.

89.3 % of kids believe in the tooth fairy.

-- none (none@none.com), December 15, 1999.

Just goes to show that kids today are complete morons. It's unfortunate that so many will die next year as a result of their incredible stupidity.

-- (its@coming.soon), December 15, 1999.

My eldest child is a GI. She thinks preparing is absolutely the responsible thing to do. She is also in the 98th percentile for her age group (nationally) in Reading/Comprehension/Mathmatical skills. She understands the global interconnectedness of economies. Listening to KGO News Talk Radio on the way to school, she asked the question regarding a sound byte on Russia's likely problems, "Mom, if Russia is facing serious problems, what makes everyone think we won't?"

-- exactly (karlacalif@aol.com), December 15, 1999.

My 6 year old nephew said "All I care about Y2K is whether I will still have candy."

-- Phil (lurker_phil@hotmail.com), December 15, 1999.

Exactly why kids are just that. Governed by someone who SHOULD know what is best and can guide them through their innocent youth.

-- Rob (maxovrdrv51@hotmail.com), December 15, 1999.

It's too bad that we have screwed things up for our kids.

-- fatanddumb (fatdumb@nd.happy), December 15, 1999.

My wife and I have been GIs for a couple of years now. we have seven kids and a very good relationship with all of them--even the three teenagers. They've internalized (as far as we can tell) most of the values we hold dear--our faith, our economics, our politics, et al. But guess what? On the issue of Y2K they think we're kooky. And no, it's not because they saw the spin on TV (we don't have one) nor because they hear it from their friends at school (we homeschool). So what is it? I think it has something to do with the insatiable optimism of youth. I think it also has to do with the fact that in their short lives they've never experienced anything even remotely like a political or economic crisis. At least our generation experienced the Vietnam War and Kent State. Anyway, that's my take.


-- JER (I_Get_it@this.time), December 15, 1999.

Kids have different priorities than adults. If someone else were responsible for feeding me, clothing me, wiping my ass and putting a roof over my head (not to mention 'entertaining' me) I wouldn't have anything to worry about either now would I?


-- TECH32 (TECH32@NOMAIL.COM), December 15, 1999.

If was kid I'd be excited too at the prospect of big 01/01/00 looting spree, and fact(?) that no one would DARE(?) shoot a minor for anything.

-- Ocotillo (peeling@out.===), December 15, 1999.

Why would anyone think to ask children as a group what they think about anything complex and serious like Y2K? Shall we begin having them O.K. bridge design, nuclear plant safety, check computer code in large programs for errors, whether or not a medical procedure or drug is worth using, or when is the ideal time to schedule an interplanetary probe launch? Even the smartest kids mainly know what they feel, and have some idea what they want. The rest is shallow impressions, shadows of the depths adults can be capable of. Look up the very definition of "child", for crying out loud.


-- MinnesotaSmith (y2ksafeminnesota@hotmail.com), December 17, 1999.

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