Table of Contents

What is the Internet?

Useful Tools
Time Management

Search Engines
Natural Language
Sample Search


Server Filters
Proxies & Ad Filters
A Few Cautions

Finding Internet Access in Your Community

Web Resources
Science & Math

Internet Guide For Parents
Using the Internet with your Family

What is the Internet?

Over the past 20 years, the Internet has gradually evolved into a tool that is used in many different environments. Many schools are beginning to use the Internet as an instructional resource, and many libraries and other community centers are giving public access to the Internet. In addition, the continuing drop in the price of personal computers has created a market where many families are able to afford a computer and Internet access in their home. You may use the Internet at work, then come home and use it to correspond with relatives, and then find your children asking you to let them use it.

If the Internet is somewhat new to you, however, you are not alone. Many parents have not yet begun using it, but they want to learn more before giving their children access. This web site will give you the information you need to make informed decisions about how you choose to use the Internet with your family.


The Internet grew out of a federally funded experimental computer network used by the military and research scientists beginning in 1969. Over the years more and more people realized the advantages of using the Internet for communication and information sharing, so now we have an international network of networks that is decentralized but operates using standard protocols that allow information to be sent to any computer that is connected to this global network.

Uses of the Internet

As a parent, you will most likely find yourself needing to learn how the Internet is used in education, and if you have access at home or your children have friends with access, you will want to know some basic information about the Internet to help your children learn to use it.

By and large, the Internet is used for three purposes:

  • To share information
  • To exchange thoughts and ideas
  • To communicate with other people (email)

Why do we want to exchange information? To do what with it?

  • To know what is going on in the world
  • To learn specific topics for work, school or personal interest
  • To share our work, ideas, or knowledge of specific areas

The Internet is like a magazine that has information on any topic. This abundance is good, because it gives you access to a wide variety of material without having to go from place to place to find it. A drawback can be that there is too much information that is not relevant for you. As with any other communication medium, the Internet has material that can be inappropriate. Because each family has its own moral and ethical values, you may wish to prevent your children and yourselves from reaching that information even by mistake. Most importantly, however, you can learn to use the Internet and then decide how to teach your children the proper use of the Internet.


Having a computer connected to the Internet gives you and your family immediate access to current information, vast collections of books, journals, research data, and many educational, commercial and entertainment sites.

The Internet can help you*:

  1. Find educational resources, including up-to-the minute news, copies of important documents and photos, and collections of research information on topics ranging from weather conditions to population statistics.
  2. Get help with homework through online encyclopedias and other reference materials and access to experts.
  3. Increase reading skills by providing access to interesting materials and suggestions for additional reading.
  4. Improve technology and information skills necessary to find and use information, solve problems, communicate with others, and meet a growing demand for these skills in the workplace.
  5. Connect with places around the world to exchange mail with electronic pen pals and learn about other cultures and traditions.
  6. Locate parenting information and swap ideas with other families.
  7. Learn and have fun together by sharing interesting and enjoyable experiences.

*Source: U.S. Dept. of Education Internet Guide for Parents

Home | Information Tools | Search Engines
Communication Tools | Safety | Conclusion | Resources for Parents

Last Update:
Please direct questions and comments about this page to
© Copyright 1998-2015 The Shodor Education Foundation, Inc.