The world today is dominated by the computer. Fourth graders use the words "modem", "hard drive", "byte", and "PC" in their normal, everyday vocabulary. Sixth graders speak of "e-mail" and "IM". By seventh grade students are capable of simple computer repair, and by ninth grade students are experts at the basics and are moving forward. The words "virus" and "mouse" take on different meanings. There are family websites. Some children have computers in their bedrooms. But why? Why are people, mostly children, obsessed with using the 18-inch monitor in their living rooms?
The answer is primarily because of the internet. The internet lets us contact other parts of the world, shop without leaving our homes, and search for information. Internet servers have been popping up everywhere; AOL, hotmail, and yahoo! are most common. The internet lets us learn things that we otherwise would be unable to learn.
It lets us look beyond our own small lives and see the greater picture.
The computer follows the simple "look but don't touch" principle. When kids (and some adults) play games on their computers, they see the demons getting hacked apart, they see the other base being destroyed, and they might even see their own "cyber selves" getting killed. But they don't actually experience the pain of dying. It can be a slightly morbid fact of human nature: we're interested in the things we can't have, but that doesn't mean we want to actually do them. The computer allows us to do this.
Some people use the computer as a way to express the "other side" of themselves. Several people have two or more screen names, each representing a different part of their personality. Some feel they show their true self while on their computer and think it's the...