The Internet

by Tamara Myshak

The Internet is a global computer network. This network connects millions of computers all over the world together. The internet provides a variety of information and communication facilities. The world wide web made the Internet easy to use for everybody. Cables or telephone lines connect all the computers into a network. 

There is a local area network and a wide area network. More powerful computers function as servers. These servers hold programs and all the data. All the connected computers have the only computer languageTransmission Control Protocol or Internet Protocol. The information is sent from one computer and arrives at a certain destination to another computer. Every computer on the Internet has an IP address. The IP address is never repeated. It is unique and occurs once in the whole world. When a computer sends data to another computer it is broken up into many small packets. These small packets can travel on their own. When they get to their destination, the packets are put together again in the right order. Each of them may take different routes and they pass by many other computers to get there.

The communication between computers is performed through E-Mail. To send a message you need to know an addressee’s e-mail. Such an address has two parts: the user name of a person and the name of the computer itself. These two parts are separated by the @ (circled A).

Many people all over the world can be the members of newsgroups, discuss the latest news, post messages on certain topics. These messages are saved and people can read them over and over again. You can chat on the net with other people. Chats are live Internet meetings in which you type a message which appears immediately on the screens of other chatters. Groups of people meet in chat rooms where they talk about subjects they like. 

Another way of sharing information is the World Wide Web. It allows you to move texts, pictures, animations, videos and music to other computers. There is a need in special program or web browser to understand computer documents. When you click from one website to another you are browsing the net. The Internet use is endless: advertising, online shopping, news presenting, watching videos, downloading and listening to music, distance education, booking holidays, etc.


Dangers on the Internet

The Internet has many good sides but there are also dangers on the net. Here are some things that you should be aware of:

Viruses

Viruses are small computer programmes that are created by people who want to do damage to the Internet. They are made to make computers slower or, in some cases, erase important information or even make a computer crash. The Internet has made it easy to send these programmes from one computer to another. Very often, you get a virus by opening a file that comes with an email.
You can protect yourself by using anti-virus programmes. They warn you if a virus has reached your computer or if something is wrong.
Do not open email attachments if you don’t know who sent them!

Passwords

User names and passwords are very important personal information. When you browse the web there are many websites where you have to type in such information. You also need a password to read your email.

  • Protect your passwords from other eyes.
  • Think of passwords that are difficult to find out.
  • Don’t use your phone number or your date of birth.
  • Use a combination of numbers and letters
  • Store your passwords in a safe place and don’t show them to anybody.

Hackers

  • Hackers are waiting to take control of your computer.
  • Use a firewall to keep them out.
  • From time to time security holes are discovered.
  • Always download patches that give your operating system more protection.
  • Log offline when you don’t need the Internet.
  • Be careful when you buy something from online stores and make sure you are using a safe connection.
  • A closed lock at the bottom of your browser shows you that you are on a safe website.


An Internet ABC

bookmark the way of saving web pages so that you can go back to them or find them again
browser A program me that finds information on the Internet and shows it on your computer screen
bomain the first part of a website’s address; it usually begins with www and ends with .com, .org, .net or other letters that show which country the website is from
download to copy information from a computer on the Internet to your own computer
e-mail electronic messages or letters that you send from one computer to another
FAQ is a short word for “ Frequently Asked Questions”;
questions that many people ask
GIF a type of computer file that pictures on the Internet use
HTML a computer language that is used to write web pages on the World Wide Web;
it stands for “Hypertext Markup Language”
hyperlink a word or a picture on a web page that will take you to another page when you click on it
Internet all the computers that are connected together on a big worldwide network so that they can communicate with each other
JPEG a type of graphic file that is used for pictures and photos on the Internet
modem a device that you connect to your computer and the telephone line; it changes data that comes from the telephone to information that you can see on your computer
network two or more computers that are connected to each other so that they can share information
offline if your computer is not connected to the Internet
online a computer that is connected to the Internet
website a place on the Internet where you can find information about something
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