The internet is kind of a big deal, right? I mean, you wouldn’t be reading this blog if it weren’t for the internet and I would have a ton more time in my day if I wasn’t spending all my time googling things and writing blogs about them. As our world gets more and more dependent on the internet, even our kids are becoming experts. My own daughter pretty much googles and You Tubes anything I say to check if I’m correct. I’m pretty sure that is only going to get worse as she gets older.
The point of this story is that World Internet Day is here. The Internet, defined as a remote connection between two computers, was first achieved on October 29, 1969. That’s your first internet fact, we’ll get to the other 9 later, but first I wanted to take a moment to talk about internet safety.
If your children haven’t already played around with the Internet, this might be a good opportunity to show them a few fun and safe kid-friendly sites and introduce your family to best practices that everyone recommends when allowing kids to use the internet. These best practices include implementing parental controls, keeping the computer in a visible space in your home, and monitoring your kids’ activities. And I wanted to add that you should always encourage real-world learning to complement what your kids discover online and you should monitor how much time your child spends with his or her electronic devices, lest you end up with the child who doesn’t understand why nothing happens when he swipes the magazine page.
Now that I’ve gotten that out of my system, here are your remaining 9 fun Internet facts (a big shout out to http://www.factslides.com/s-Internet for some of these awesome tidbits):
- Leonard Kleinrock, Charley Kline, and Bill Duvall were the key players in the first Internet connection.
- The World Wide Web (often used synonymously, but incorrectly, with the internet itself) became possible in 1989. It began with the invention of Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) and Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) by Tim Berners-Lee, a British scientist at CERN.
- In the 1980s, bulletin board system services (BBSs) were developed by hobbyists to facilitate communication between people with common, and often obscure, interests. Some of these group started Multi-User Dungeons (MUDs) to play an online version of Dungeons & Dragons.
- More than 204 million emails are sent every 60 seconds.
- There is high-speed internet access on the way up to Mount Everest.
- Between 1998 and 2008, the number of websites exploded from 100,000 to over 162 million.
- No one is sure who the first person who used the term “spam” was, but someone created a keyboard macro program to type the words SPAM SPAM SPAM SPAM SPAM repeatedly every few seconds to imitate the Monty Python sketch.
- When the country of Montenegro became independent from the country of Yugoslavia, it’s Internet domain name changed from .yu to .me.
- Researchers are debating on adding Internet addiction to the list of mental disorders. Meanwhile, China is already ahead of the game with treatment camps for Internet addicts.
And here’s a great article from our archives that may help your child (and you?) gain some understanding of how to judge websites. The ability to distinguish a high-quality website from a marketing tool is an important skill that will become more and more critical as your children grow and need to write research papers and the like.
The Good, the Bad, and the Just Plain Awful: How to Judge Web Sites
By Cynthia Levinson
Are you interested in predatory animals? Do an Internet search and you might find a great Web site that explains how sea anemones eat worms. Then again, a not-so-great site might want to sell you safari tickets. And a truly awful site might tell you that beluga whales snatch people near ditches!
Since you know one-ton whales don’t live in ditches, you spot the awful Web site and ignore it. But another search about the Civil War might steer you to a site that claims soldiers used guided missiles. Is that false, too? You can learn almost anything you want on the Internet—and a lot of things you don’t.
Great Web sites give you real facts in a way you understand. They’re also fun and make you think. Lousy sites misinform you, waste your time, try to “sell not tell” you stuff, and link you to other sites where you don’t want to go. How can you tell good ones from bad ones?
Spot the Dots
- Web sites ending in .gov are created by the governments. For example, the White House Web site is www.whitehouse.gov. Government sites may not be action-packed, but they’re accurate and safe. Other generally accurate Web sites have different “dots”:
- .edu sites come from schools and universities. Information found on these sites and their links is usually carefully researched and can be fun, especially if the site comes from your own school.
- .museum and .lib come from museums and libraries and can be great sites, too.
- .org means the site is created by an organization. The PBS television network’s site is www.pbs.org. “Dot-orgs” are often more reliable and long-lasting than . . .
- .com, or commercial, sites. Anyone can set up a “dot-com” site. So, some are reliable and some are not. If you’re researching predatory animals and come up with a .com Web site, you might want to steer clear—unless, of course, you’re looking to buy a tiger!
But beware—any site can make mistakes, and there’s no guarantee that a site you see today will be there tomorrow. And don’t be fooled by sites calling themselves “encyclopedias.” They can be full of inaccurate information.
- Use sites your parents or teachers know, such as a public television or museum site.
- Type addresses carefully—pbs.com is not the same as pbs.org.
- Check the home page for information about the host, experts, and when the site was last updated. Can you e-mail the author to ask questions?
- And, most important, use your good sense to sniff out good sites and snuff out bad ones.
- And for more articles like the one above, check out these back issues and be sure to subscribe to Muse.
Cricket Media Mama learning to become fluent in the native language of the interwebs! Check me out: JSYK, IMO, my blogs make people ROTFLOL. JK. Now I have to go AFK, back to IRL, SOS? TY! BRB. TTYL. RSVP!