What exactly is the "Internet"? Imagine millions of computers all around the world linked together and exchanging information. The Internet is a global network made up of thousands of smaller networks. The Internet is like a huge town. If you wanted to send or receive mail you have an electronic post office. There are also libraries you can use any time you want, with millions of books and magazines and newspapers. Chat rooms are like the schoolyard or lunchroom except you can talk to people anytime you want. And on the World Wide Web, you can play games and listen to music (What is the Internet?).
There are lots of good reasons to use the Internet. You can explore ways to learn and have fun. You can play games with other people anywhere in the world and find out interesting things you never knew before. The Internet allows you to access information anytime, anywhere.
You can help plan your family vacation, do research for school projects, and read about your favorite movie star. You can exchange documents, pictures, music, video clips, and even software. You can listen to radio stations from around the world and send family photos. With the Internet you have instant communication with people all over the world. You can keep in touch with your friends and meet new ones, and get experts to answer your questions.
But of course the Internet isn't perfect. It sounds like a dream come true but there are many drawbacks in Internet use. Esther Dyson explains, "At it's worse the Internet is like a repository of the most inaccurate, banal and slanderous cocktail-party conversation" (352). Basically anyone can make a website and post something on the Internet. There are no rules or laws about the credibility of the information online.