Poll: Youth Values Technology, But Isn't Aggressive About IP - InformationWeek

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Poll: Youth Values Technology, But Isn't Aggressive About IP

Younger people are more likely than adults to believe that technology will be vital to their future, but they are less likely to support the protection of intellectual property.

Younger people--"tweens" and teens--are more likely than adults to believe that technology will be vital to their future, but they are less likely to support the protection of intellectual property, according to a poll released Wednesday.

That is just one of the disconnects found in the poll conducted by the Harris Interactive market-research firm for the Business Software Alliance (BSA). The poll found that almost all tweens and teens (98 percent) believe that improvements in technology will be essential or important to their future, while the percentage dropped to 87 percent for adults.

But the youth and adult age groups view the protection of IP, such as commercial software programs, differently. Only 67 percent of the youth group believe it is "extremely or very important to protect intellectual property from being stolen," according to the poll. The percentage of adults favoring the protection of IP was 77 percent.

"Much of the population takes software for granted," said Laurie Atkinson, BSA spokeswoman. "The kids seem to get it [better than the adults.]"

The Harris poll also found that most American adults (around 70 percent) realize that software helps their ability to communicate and gather information, but smaller percentages of adults understand how software contributes to improving their transportation (35 percent), economic well-being (23 percent), safety (18 percent), and health and wellness (24 percent).

"We want the public to understand how software helps," said Atkinson. "There is a variety of things we can do here." She said increased information on the Web and advertising would help improve awareness of the value and importance of software.

Throughout the poll's questions, a pattern emerged in which youths seem to understand the value of software more than do older audiences. Even having children at home helped increase the awareness of software advances. The poll stated: "Adults who have children in their household are more likely than those who do not have children in their household to believe that advances in software have helped them out in a number of ways."

The poll also found that male adults are more likely than female adults to appreciate the value of software. The same pattern holds true for education level--higher educated people tend to value software more than those with lower education levels.

"The technological advancements of software reach far beyond email communications, education, and entertainment," said Diane Smiroldo, BSA's vice president of public affairs, in a statement. "These findings reveal that though people understand the important role that software plays in many aspects of life, their awareness of the broader applications of software and its role behind the scenes in running our healthcare system, food supply, travel infrastructure and day-to-day safety and security could be higher."

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