Survey suggests teens not worried about Y2K

Times-News Dec 30, 1999

KINGSPORT A majority of Tri-Cities teen-agers are rolling their eyes with disdain over the Y2K hype. About 80 percent of local teens believe adults have overreacted to potential problems associated with Y2K, according to a survey conducted by Junior Achievement Tri-Cities. The survey was distributed nationally and to 54 students in Hawkins County and Kingsport this month. A total of 1,449 youths throughout the nation were asked to give their impressions of Y2K, the 20th century, and the new millennium.

According to the local survey results, only 8 percent of respondents said they were fearful about what may take place at the turn of the century. An overwhelming majority, 64 percent, said they were excited about entering the next millennium. Another 20 percent said they were uncertain, and 8 percent said they were nervous about the change.

When it comes to potential problems with the Y2K date change, 48.1 percent of local teen-age respondents believed there would be significant computer disruption. About 43 percent believed banks would be affected significantly, and 40.7 percent believed the Internet would experience problems.

Air travel, credit cards, the military and electricity were also high in the list of items local teen-agers believed would be significantly impacted by the Y2K bug. Local responses were about the same as national results on Y2K and its effects. Nationwide, 64.3 percent of teen-agers were able to identify what the Y2K bug is a computer calendar problem.

When asked to name the "Person of the Century," national respondents named Martin Luther King Jr., with twice as many votes as the nearest choice, Albert Einstein. Michael Jordan, Bill Gates and Bill Clinton were also included in the top five. George Washington was chosen as the top person of the millennium, followed by Christopher Columbus, Abraham Lincoln, Albert Einstein and Benjamin Franklin.

The top event of the century according to teens nationwide was World War II. The invention of the computer came in second, with the moon landing, space exploration and the civil rights movement following. The American Revolution was chosen as the top event of the century. The discovery of America, discovery of electricity, World War II and the end of slavery were included in the top five.