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Internet

Essay by   •  August 27, 2010  •  Essay  •  5,587 Words (23 Pages)  •  1,851 Views

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The Internet links people together via computer terminals and telephone lines

(and in some cases wireless radio connections) in a web of networks and

shared software. This allows users to communicate with one another

wherever they are in the "net." This Internet link began as the United States

military project Agency Network Advanced Research (ARPANET) during

the Vietnam War in 1969. It was developed by the United States

Department of Defense's (DOD) research people in conjunction with various

contractors and universities to investigate the probability of a communication

network that could survive a nuclear attack. For the first decade that the

Internet was in existence, it was primarily used to facilitate electronic mail,

support on line discussion groups, allow access to distant databases, and

support the transfer of files between government agencies, companies and

universities. Today over 15 million people in the United States and

approximately 25 million people worldwide access the Internet regularly,

including children. Many parents believe that depriving their children of the

opportunity to learn computer skills and access the knowledge available on

the Internet would give them a distinct technological disadvantage as they

enter the twenty first century. Portelli and Mead state by the year 2002, the

reported number of children who access the Internet from home is projected

to increase from the current 10 million to 20 million (6). In addition to home

access, Poretelli and Meads further stated that as of 1997 the percentage of

United States schools that offered Internet access as a part of their regular

curriculum was over sixty percent. There were over nine thousand public

libraries across America in 1997, sixty percent of these offered on-line

access to its users (7). In view of this information, one can concluded that the

on-line percentage for both schools and libraries has increased notably since

1997 and the number continues to grow as more of these facilities "plug in

and log on." Whether at home, at school, or at the public library, children are

accessing the Internet. The word "children" is somewhat ambiguous

considering the range of ages that it encompasses. For instance, eighteen is

the normally accepted age at which a child reaches legal adulthood; therefore,

"children" would refer to any age between birth and seventeen. Porterfield

stated that a study conducted in 1997 by Gateway 2000, a leading computer

manufacturer, concluded that most children Internet access and computer

skills typically commence with their school work. Although in some cases it

may be earlier and in some later, the typical age at which a child begins to

learn computer skills are kindergarten age, or age five. For example at the

Children Television Work Shop website, a young child can click on a query

and in a few days an E-mail arrives. For the purpose of this analysis, the

broad word "children" will be condensed to contain two age groups --

elementary level, ages' 5-12, and secondary level, ages' 13-18. At either

level, the World Wide Web poses clear dangers to children. These children

grow up enlightened with technology, which they take for granted and know

exactly how to use it. Most parents are not conscious of what lies behind that

innocuous screen. If you give one's child carte blanche use of a computer

attached to a modem, it is as serious as handing a ten-year-old the car keys

and telling them to have a good time. These "cyberchildren" are vulnerable to

potential dangers as a result of Internet use. These perils include contact with

dangerous individuals, exposure to sexually suggestive materials, exposure to

explicit conversations and obscenity in chat rooms, and access to violent

interactive games. One very dangerous downside to Internet communication

is its potential for the telling of untruths. One can never be certain at any given

time to whom one is talking or if the conversation is sincere and truthful.

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