About the internet

 

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About the internet

A couple sit in front of a laptop waving to loved ones

What's coming up

The internet is a great way of keeping in touch with friends and family, shopping, paying bills and booking travel or entertainment. This activity will help you to get started on the internet so you can do all of these things and more.

In this activity, you will find out about what you can do on the internet, how to connect to the internet and how to keep your computer safe.

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What can you do?

The internet – sometimes known as "The Web" – has changed the way people find information, learn, communicate, entertain themselves and buy and sell.

You can use the internet for many things. Let's find out about a few of them.

A man takes a photo of him and a loved one at a party with his phone

Keeping in touch

Staying in touch with friends and family is easy on the internet. You can send emails anywhere in the world in just a few seconds. So, wherever your friends are, the internet lets you stay in touch quickly, cheaply and easily.

Lots of people also use social networking sites like Facebook or Twitter to keep in touch with people. Among other things, these sites let you send messages, chat to friends and share photos.

Managing your finances

Fed up of walking to the bank in the rain, only to stand in the queue for half an hour before being served? Internet banking is an easy and secure way of managing your finances at any time of the day or night, seven days a week. And you can do it all from the comfort of your own home.

You can pay bills, set up and change direct debits and standing orders, or just check your balance – whenever and wherever it suits you.

A tablet is used to submit details to access online banking
A handheld device shows the ability to do grocery shopping at the touch of a finger

Online shopping

Most major retailers have a website. They may offer a wider range of products at lower prices online than they do on the high street. All you have to do is decide what you want, pay and you can have it delivered straight to your door.

So, whether you want to buy a new TV or just do your weekly food shop, you can do it all online.

Finding information

The internet is a great place for finding information.

Search engines like Google or encyclopedias like Wikipedia can help you find what you're looking for in no time. You can research places to go on holiday, help your kids with their homework or just find out what's going on in your area.

A tablet is used to complete a search on Google

What can you use the internet for?

Take a look at the options below.

Which do you think you can use the internet for?

Checking the news

Click to flip

Correct

Keeping in touch with friends and family

Click to flip

Correct

Going for a walk

Click to flip

Incorrect

Lights are on and the cable is ready to be plugged in from a home internet router device

Getting connected

This could be your home computer connected to the internet through a broadband connection.

Getting connected

Or you can connect through a wireless or Wi-Fi connection. Lots of places such as libraries and cafés even provide free Wi-Fi.

A lit up sign explains that there is free wifi available
Someone is reading the morning news on their smart phone while drinking their morning coffee

Getting connected

You can even access the internet through your mobile phone. Smartphones, like iPhones and Android phones, connect to the internet through 3G phone networks, so you can access the internet from almost anywhere.

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eSafety Tip

If you connect to free Wi-Fi in a café, a shop, or public place, avoid doing anything online with your phone or tablet that is really important, such as banking or shopping - it's best to do these things at home with your own internet connection that is more secure.

Staying Safe

It's important to protect your computer when you're online, otherwise you could be at risk from viruses which could damage your computer or access personal information. They're nothing to worry about if you have the right protection installed.

You should install virus protection software if your computer doesn't have any. This software scans your computer regularly for signs of viruses or other unwanted files or programs and removes them. You can download virus protection for free from the internet – AVG and Avast! are good examples of free anti-virus programs.

A laptops shows a screen with a padlock on it saying cyber security
A few people are entertained as they crowd around looking at mobile phone screens

Congratulations!

Well done, you've come to the end of the About the Internet activity.

You've learnt about some of the things you can do on the internet, different ways to access the internet and how to keep your computer safe.

In the next activity, Getting around online, you'll find out about using a browser, finding websites and moving around websites.