Going Online 1 - Introduction

Lesson One

What is the Internet? 

The Internet is computers linked together to communicate with each other. The Internet was created in the 1960s by the Department of Defense. The World Wide Web and electronic mail (e-mail) are both part of the Internet.

What can the Internet be used for?

The internet can be used to access information you are interested in. Some examples of things you can do on the Internet include viewing art work, making travel reservations, finding maps and driving directions, finding telephone numbers, getting tax forms, shopping, and e-mailing.

Social Media, such as Facebook and Twitter, and blogs are ways of keeping in touch online. Many users are also connected to the Internet via mobile phones.

How do I get on the Internet?

You need the following items to get on the internet:

 A computer

 You can connect to the Internet using a desktop or laptop computer. New desktop computers come with an  ethernet port and laptop computers generally come with a wifi card or an ethernet port. Wifi stands for  "wireless fidelity" - the current technology that provides wireless Internet access. An ethernet port connects  to the internet via a cable.

 A Broadband connection

  High speed digital cable (Roadrunner in this area) or DSL line connects you to the Internet. DSL uses existing  phone lines. Both are faster connections than dial up service. Dial up service connects to the internet using  your phone line and a modem.

 An Internet Service Provider (ISP)

   An Internet Service Provider is a company that provides access to the Internet for a fee. Examples of  ISPs are Roadrunner Cable, SBC, Earthlink, Bright.net, and AT&T. At this writing, AT&T is the #1 DSL  broadband service in the U.S. To locate Internet Service Providers in your area go to The ISP Guide at  www.theispguide.com or look in the phone book yellow pages. 

 An Internet browser

   A browser is the software that lets your computer view the Internet pages. The browser we are using is  Microsoft Internet Explorer. At this writing IE 9 is the latest version. Other Internet browsers are Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, and Opera. Each  browser has its own symbol, seen as an icon on the computer desktop. Double-click with your left mouse  button to start the browser.


Internet Security is extremely important. Having a firewall, and antivirus and antispyware programs installed on your computer will help prevent spam, viruses, spyware, and other attacks. Most new computers come with a free trial version of a subscription security suite, such as Symantec or McAfee. Look in Consumer Reports or PC World Magazine for reviews and ratings of computer security software. 

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