Table of Contents
What is the Internet?
Proxies & Ad Filters
A Few Cautions
Finding Internet Access in Your Community
Science & Math
Internet Tools for Communication
In addition to the many information tools on the Internet, the readily available
and easy to use communication tools helped in large part to make the Internet so
popular. The scientists and researchers who first used the Internet realized
that the increased communications capabilities that they had would benefit not
just academics, but all sectors of society. Today, tools such as electronic
mail, newsgroups, chat, and even Internet phone are providing supplemental ways
to communicate with people around the world. Each tool has pros and cons which
you will want to weigh before deciding which tool bests suits your purpose for
communicating. For example, if you have relatives you contact frequently who
live far away, you might find that sending electronic mail to each other will be
much more economical than using the telephone. On the other hand, you may find
you value hearing the voice of the other person and so decide that the telephone
is the best instrument to use.
Responsibility in Internet Communication
- Always have your children follow Netiquette, even if someone else doesn't.
- Monitor what mailing lists your children are on. If nothing else, they can
take up a lot of time.
- If your children show an interest in "binary newsgroups" (where encoded
pictures and sounds are posted), talk to them about how much hard drive space
they can reasonably use. You may have had this discussion at another time, but
have it again. These groups really eat up the space of the unwary. If
possible, keep day-to-day track of how much space your child is using. You will
notice impending problems before he does.
- Sit nearby the first few times they use any communication type,
for several reasons. First, make sure they know how to use the software, and
are not inadvertently embarrassing themselves and you. Are they posting under
their own names, or yours? Second, ensure they know the particular etiquette of
the group they are entering, for most non-email communication. Make sure your
child can tell the difference between an on-topic post and a spam designed to
lure them to an undesirable site on the web.
- IRC and other forms of chat should be events, not habits. There may be
times when your child's favorite author will be on a specified channel to talk
about his books, and the news is all over the web and the newsgroups. Usually,
you will want to encourage this variety of use. If you are given enough
warning, you can even plan around it. Once your child is on, monitor only if you are
interested, which you just might find you are. On the other hand, "I'm getting
on IRC to talk to my friends there" can become a very time-consuming habit.
Still worse, chatting for the purpose only of chat can lead to real trouble,
particularly in the area of trusting total strangers or breaching Netiquette.
- Roleplaying on MUDs, MOOs, MUSHes, and MOOVs may be acceptable, but set
time limits and ask lots of questions. Ask about the environment, the other
people, and especially your child's character. Ask how things went sometimes
when he gets off. He may be roleplaying a very different person than he is, and
if you disapprove of the character, environment, or events, you may want to
steer them in other directions.
- Encourage your children to use other forms of communication. "Yes, email your
pen pal across the Atlantic and the one in Mongolia, but go play with your
friend down the street, and call the one across town on the phone."
Information Tools |
Communication Tools |
Resources for Parents
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© Copyright 1998 The Shodor Education Foundation, Inc.