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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.
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:
Why do we want to exchange information? To do what with it?
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*:
*Source: U.S. Dept. of Education Internet Guide for Parents
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