What is the Internet?

A Global Web

World Wide Web

Connecting The World

The Internet is a global web of computers connected to each other by wires, cables, satellites, radio waves, and waves of light. If you look at a map of big cities, smaller towns, and scattered houses, each is connected by roads, railways, rivers and other things. This is similar to the Internet. The Internet, just like cities, has millions of people interacting with each other every day.

The "big cities" of the Internet are the server computers of Yahoo, Tripod, AOL, and other networks. Each of these super computers are capable of sending and receiving huge amounts of information extremely fast. Some of the "big cities" like Yahoo for instance, have chat rooms where people from all over the world can meet and communicate with each other. Other places like Tripod have communities where people are able to create their own webpages. These communities of webpages are grouped together to form "neighborhoods." These "neighborhoods" are similar to the neighborhoods in cities where people live. These "big cities" of the Internet often have search engines, e-mail services, shopping, entertainment, and other services that draw millions of people from all around the world just like the post offices, stores, movie theaters, and other places do in the communities where we live.

Other computers on the Internet are also part of these online towns. Local banks often provide access to account information with their computers. Businesses like Wal-Mart, Lowes, and many others have computers that provide online stores where people can purchase different items. Many colleges and universities offer online classes that allow people to get their degrees on the Internet. You can often pay your cable bill, credit card payment, electric bill and other payments online. You can even buy groceries online at places like NetGrocer. You can do just about anything online that you can offline.

The largest part of the Internet, just like the world, is not the "big cities." It's all of the millions and millions of remote computers. When we connect to the Internet our computers become one of these remote computers. We logon to the Internet through an Internet service provider's, (or ISP's), server computer. Then we're are off exploring the online world. Just like in the cities where people are going to work, school, post offices, shopping, or whatever, we are doing the same thing online. The Internet is all about accessing a great deal of information and services from the comfort of our own homes.

People often call the Internet the World Wide Web, but that is actually not quite correct. The World Wide Web, (or WWW), is simply a way of accessing HTTP information linked together on the Internet. We use Web browsers like Internet Explorer to view Web pages on the World Wide Web. Email, instant messengers, and other things use the Internet, but have nothing to do with the World Wide Web. Try not to let the two terms fool you, even though many people do.

As most of us know, the world is often very dangerous. There are many bad people. Some people may try to take your money. Others may even want to hurt you. This is no different on the Internet. It is very important to remember that. You don't give strangers your address, phone number, or any other personal information offline. It is just as important to not do it online either. That includes giving information to websites. If someone keeps trying to get you to tell them things you shouldn't, inform your parents or a trusted adult immediately! Although you may be smart enough to realize that these people are up to no good, the next person may not be as smart. It's up to you to try and protect others by informing the authorities. Make your experience online a fun, enjoyable, and safe one! Be careful online, just as you are in your regular everyday life!

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