A survey conducted by College Parents of America in April 2006 reveals that parents of college students are concerned over the risks your children face for illegally downloading music, movies and videos from the Internet, and that you believe your children’s schools have some level of responsibility for encouraging legal alternatives.

The survey, which generated responses from more than 650 of you (parents of current or soon-to-be college students), shows that nearly all respondents – 98% – are aware that your children use their computers for entertainment purposes – from listening to music, watching movies/videos and playing games to socializing and accessing news and information.

According to the survey, among the most popular of these activities is listening to music, with 89% of parents indicating that your children use their computers to do so, and with 57% of parents reporting that your children are downloading music and/or videos on their computers. The remaining 43% of you either claimed your children are not downloading music and videos online or responded that you didn’t know.

In recent years, many college and university students, and in some cases their parents, have faced fines, lawsuits and probationary measures taken by their schools after the discovery of illegal downloading activities by the Recording Industry Association of America, which works to protect the intellectual property rights of artists worldwide. The College Parents of America survey showed that 94% of parents expressed an understanding of the legal actions that can be taken against your children for illegally downloading music and movies.

When asked whose responsibility it is to encourage legal downloading of entertainment, 87% of parents surveyed believe that you hold responsibility to discourage illegal file sharing by your children. Nearly the same percentage of parents – 82% – believe colleges and universities share in that responsibility and expect them to take measures to promote legal downloading if options and resource were available. More than 75%, three of every four parents surveyed, believe that these options currently exist.

Having watched your children grow up with a keyboard at their fingertips, you know that your kids will inevitably turn to their computers for entertainment. And you also know that downloading music is easy, prevalent and often illegal. These days, colleges and universities can offer alternatives that are just as easy and available, but more importantly to parents, legal.

One such alternative is Ruckus Networks, a service that offers music and movies legally through direct relationships with record labels and Hollywood studios. College Parents of America and Ruckus recently formed a partnership with the mission to educate parents on safe and legal file sharing and to provide news and information to parents about the rapidly evolving industry that is impacting their children’s lifestyles

The College Parents of America survey generated the 650+ responses from parents of students attending public and private colleges and universities, as well as a small percentage attending public two-year colleges or high schools.