How to use the internet

Congrats! You have setup your first computer, or you have began to use free computers at the library. The internet is a very powerful tool that allows you to get information from others, or share information to others. But to fully unleash all the powers of the internet, you will need to go through a few steps.

1) Download Google Chrome

To access the internet, you will need something called a “web browser”. There are different web browsers, but the easiest to use is called Chrome. Find a young and patient person to help you acquire Chrome on your computer. Tell them that they must go to the website chrome.com and download Chrome by pressing “Download” and following the instructions.

2) Use the Address Bar

Now that you have downloaded Chrome, we will learn how to use the address bar. On the top of Chrome, you will see a space where you can enter text. By entering text and then pressing enter, you will be able to retrieve information from the internet. Yes, this is extremely exciting, because by using the address bar, you can acquire information on pretty much anything you can think of. Information is stored in places called “websites”. To get a website, you need to enter into the address bar an “address”. Each website has its own unique address. An address is any piece of text that ends with a dot, and then two or three characters. For example, chess.com is an address, because it ends with “.com” (a dot and then “com”). Try thinking of a single word, any word, and then turning it into an address (by adding “.com”), and then entering it into the address bar. Don’t be worried about choosing the “right” word; the internet is best learned by making mistakes and just trying stuff out: you won’t break anything.

3) Press on links

There is another way to get websites without using the address bar. This is by pressing on “links”. Links are addresses disguised as regular text. Actually, it is very easy to find links: simply look for text that is blue in colour. When you press on a link, it will automatically enter the address into the address bar, and give you the website. Very convenient! Try pressing on a few links. Now, what if you just pressed on a link and you want to go back to the website you had before? Simply press the back button, which is the left arrow on the top left corner. And after you’ve pressed the back button, if you want to go forward again, press the right arrow. It’s like reading a book: if you want to go back to the last page, rather than physically flipping the page, you press a button.

3) Use Wikipedia

One of the best websites for getting information is called “Wikipedia”. In the address bar, enter the address “wikipedia.org”, and then press on the link that says “English”. The website Wikipedia is essentially an encyclopedia on the internet. Imagine this encyclopedia’s title was called “Wikipedia”. Inside Wikipedia, there are a lot of pages; on the internet, these are called “webpages”. Searching for information in Wikipedia is as easy as searching for a page in an encyclopedia. Near the top right corner, you will see a square box with the faint word “Search”. This is known as a search box, and you use it to find a specific page within the encyclopedia. Try searching: enter into the text box a single word, preferably a common word and then press enter. You will automatically be given a webpage with a ton of information. Everything you wanted to know about the subject is right in front of you!

4) Use Google

Think of the internet as a collection of books: there are encyclopedias, textbooks, personal diaries, and even picture books. Each of these books are called a “website” and each website has many many webpages. There is a way to search through almost every single webpage on the internet. It’s called Google. This is where it may get confusing. In the address bar, you can not only enter addresses (which end in a dot then three characters), but you can treat it like a search box. In other words, if you enter anything other than an address into the address bar, you are using Google, and you are searching through webpages on the internet. Try entering a word, or a phrase into the address bar. You now see your search results: each of the blue links are webpages that may possibly contain the information you are trying to obtain. There are billions of webpages on the internet, so there is probably more than one webpage with the information you want. If you can’t find the information you want, try tweaking the text you entered into the address bar, because Google is very sensitive: it tries to look for webpages that contain every single word you search for. Play around, and try searching for different things.

5) Tabs

Chrome has a special feature called “tabs”, which lets you open many webpages at the same time. At the top of the screen, you will see a gray-coloured shape, a rhombus. Pressing on this shape will create a new tab, and you now have two tabs, indicated by the two info cards above the address bar. It may seem like you’ve made the entire screen go white, and you’ve just lost the webpage you were looking at. This is not the case. You’ve simply opened a new tab, to go back to the old tab press the left-most info card above the address bar. Go back to the new tab, and try entering an address into the address bar. Play around, by opening new tabs, and going back to the old tabs. When you are done, close all your tabs except your original tabs by pressing on the X button.

6) Use YouTube

Other than Wikipedia, there is another website that is very cool, YouTube. In the address bar, enter the address “youtube.com”. This website contains a millions of videos: each video is contained in a different webpage. In the search box, on the top of the screen, enter some type of a video you want to watch, such as “soccer”. Pressing on a link will take you to a webpage with a video. Don’t spend too long on YouTube, or we’ll never finish this tutorial!

7) Get a Gmail account

The internet can be personalized. Perhaps some people have given you their email addresses: it is now time for you to create an email account. Email is basically like a regular mailbox, but on the internet. To access your mailbox, you must create an account. Go to the address “gmail.com”, press on “Create an account”, and fill in the fields. The username—your email address—is like your mailbox address: it uniquely distinguishes your address from other addresses. For most people, their username is their full name, followed by a number. You email address will now be: username@gmail.com (For example, my email address is kylez51@gmail.com).

It is natural to be skeptical of sharing your private information after hearing so much news about people’s information being stolen on the news. If this is too much of an issue for you, it is good to first talk to people about privacy risks before creating an account. Generally, as long as you do not share your password to anybody, there is no need to worry about anybody stealing your personal information. It is a good idea not to put sensitive information on the internet anyways.

After you have created an account, you now have your mailbox. Your email address can be shared to other people, and they can send email to you. Looking in your mailbox, called an “Inbox”, you should already see three pieces of mail, all from “Gmail Team”. Press on these emails to open them. Press on “Inbox” to check other mail. You can even send email to other people by pressing the red “Compose” button on the left hand side, entering the email address of other people in the “To” field, and then entering your message. Email is delivered immediately to other people without delay.

8) Get a Facebook account

The last step is to start sharing information to other people. Go to the address “facebook.com”, and signup by completing the fields. Use the email you have just created. After you have created an account, you will need to confirm your account. Go back to your email (gmail.com), and you will see that there is a new message from Facebook. Open the message, and press confirm. Now, your Facebook account has been created and you are ready to share information to others! Go back to Facebook (facebook.com). Tell the world what you are thinking, or anything you have on your mind by writing text in the box that says “What’s on your mind?” Something simple such as “Hello, World!” is a great thing to share. Press “Post”. You have now successfully shared your thoughts to the world, and completed this tutorial!

I hope that this tutorial has helped you understand how to use the internet. There’s still a lot to know, and using Google will solve almost any question you have. I hope you’ve seen some of the powers of the internet: You now have the ability to acquire information at your will, message your friends instantaneously, and share your thoughts to the world! Remember, the internet is meant for experimentation, and it’s normal to feel intimidated and confused. In no time, you’ll have remembered all the different terminology, internalized all the above steps, and become unaware of all the complex steps you’re going through. That’s when you know you have mastered the internet.

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