What is the Information Superhighway?
The part of the Information Superhighway that is most
often referred to in the popular media is the Internet.
"Going online" refers to getting connected to the Internet
or other commercial service, usually via a telephone
*Boldface terms are defined in the Glossary.
The Internet, sometimes called the Net, is a vast group of
interconnected computer networks that spans the globe. It
has many features, but is generally a way to communicate,
use information tools, and find boundless amounts of information
from an unlimited number of sources.
The Internet makes possible a number of online functions
such as e-mail, a way of sending messages electronically from
one computer user to another; chat rooms, which are
places online where you can communicate with others instantaneously
using your keyboard; and discussion groups, places where you
can read and post information about particular topics.
There is unlimited information on the Internet, but it can
be like a big library without a card catalogue to help find
the books you might be looking for. Search engines
exist to help with this. With a search engine you can sort
through vast amounts of online information to pinpoint the
material you want. Search engines work by matching
words you enter into the computer with the same words found
in various information sites on the Internet.
World Wide Web
What has helped the Internet become more popular is the development
of the World Wide Web. The World Wide Web (WWW or the
Web) is a network of sites on the Internet which have words,
sounds, and pictures. It is its visual quality that distinguishes
the Web from the rest of the Internet. Here, commercial companies,
nonprofit organizations, the government, and individuals supply
lots of information on just about any subject imaginable.
In fact, many organizations and commercial outlets are creating
"content" or information aimed directly at kids of all ages,
and kids are spending a lot of time on the Web.
A necessary tool for exploring the Web is a browser,
a program that lets you view what's on the Web. Examples of
popular browsers are Netscape Navigator and Microsoft Internet
Explorer. Browsers make it very easy to move from Web site
to Web site and back again. You can use a browser to visit
Web sites with search engines that help you find what you
want to see. Examples of sites with search engines include: