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 powerful tool that allows us to access a wealth of information, all in a few mouse clicks. You can keep up to date with the latest news and weather, research hobbies, browse stores, shop online and much more.

In this activity, you will learn about the internet and how you can use it to manage your life and keep in touch with friends and family.

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What can you do on the internet?

There isn’t much you cannot do on the internet. The internet is now used in almost every aspect of society, from how we manage our finances, shop, pay for bills and keep in touch with our loved ones.

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
A handheld device shows the ability to do grocery shopping at the touch of a finger

Online shopping

Nearly all retailers and shops have an online store, allowing customers to purchase anything from shoes and electronics to groceries from the comfort of home. Many stores have free delivery if the purchase price is over a certain amount, meaning ordering goods over the internet can be a saving.

Banking online

Online banking is really useful for those who don’t have time to travel to their nearest branch. You can check balances, pay bills and keep an eye on your account, all from the comfort of home, at any time of the day or night, seven days a week.

If you want to find out how to safely set up internet banking and practise key banking tasks in a safe environment, see our courses for all devices in the online banking and mobile banking courses.

A man using a laptop computer to log in for internet banking

Looking up information

The internet allows you to search for and look up information from anywhere in the world. You can check what time the next train leaves London bound for Edinburgh, or what's on special at your local supermarket. There is a world of information at your fingertips.

A tablet is used to complete a search on Google

Keeping in touch with friends and family

Keeping in touch with your loved ones has never been easier, with a number of programs and internet sites providing voice and video communication services, often free of charge. Programs such as WhatsApp, Zoom, FaceTime and Skype provide free voice and video calling services. All you need is a stable internet connection.

To find out how you can video chat with friends and family, take a look at our step-by-step courses in the Connecting to others topic.

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

What can you use the internet for?

Let's do a quick quiz. Take a look at the options below.

Which do you think you can use the internet for?

Checking the news

Click to flip

That's right, all the major news channels and papers have websites you can follow.

Keeping in touch with friends and family

Click to flip

That's also right! You can video chat, in real time, to anyone anywhere in the world.

Going for a walk

Click to flip

Of course, that's not possible on the internet. Although, you can go on virtual trips!

Getting connected

You can connect to the internet in the following ways:

  • Home Broadband internet connection and home Wi-Fi.
  • Public Wi-Fi: many public places, such as cafés and libraries, offer free public Wi-Fi to customers.
  • Mobile data: using your smartphone or tablet, provided you have a mobile data plan.

If all this is a bit new to you, don't worry. We have lots more courses coming that will take you through getting connected to the internet in more detail.

A lit up sign explains that there is free wifi available
An icon of a padlock

eSafety tip

Always take care when connecting to public Wi-Fi networks, as they are not secure. To be safe, never do anything on a public Wi-Fi network that needs a username or password or banking details to be entered, e.g. online banking, logging in to social media or buying goods online.

A few people are entertained as they crowd around looking at mobile phone screens


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 and some different ways to access the internet.

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