The Study
An introduction to this study of family use of the Internet.

The Families
Feature stories reflecting the Internet's impact on study participants' lives.

The Diaries
Statistics reported by people taking part in the project.

The Researchers
Janna Q. Anderson of the Elon School of Communications and 25 student researchers compiled this study.

The Neighborhood
Details about the town of Elon, N.C. and the neighborhood in this study.

Elon University

Pew Internet & American Life Project

"I had negative impressions about the Net, and they were all wrong. Now I have dreams and they are right. It's never too late to start your relationship with the Internet. All you have to do is click the mouse, and you can be wherever you want to be, talk with whoever you want to talk with, and not worry about anything else." -Ivan Jerinic

Ivan Jerinic Ivan Jerinic

E-mails, letters, short messages and much more are why I am part of this big circus. I love the Internet. It has became a big part of my life, and now that I am completely addicted to it, I have more friends, contacts with other people and all the other features that Internet brings us.

I am a student at Elon University in North Carolina, but I am from Belgrade, Yugoslavia, and my family still lives there. The Internet has made my life much easier, because it has opened more different ways in which I am capable of contacting my family.

Originally, I never thought I would be able to master this kind of technology. The Internet and the whole computer world were very strange to me when I first time came to the United States only a few years ago. I had no belief that the Internet would help me with anything whatsoever in my life.

My first statement was, "I don't need this kind of stuff. I am young, and I do not want to mess up my eyes by spending a lot of time in front of the computer screen."

Living up to expectations

At college in the States, you are expected to use computers and the Internet. I did not know what to do with myself. Everything was going against my beliefs. I talked to a couple of my teachers, and they tried to encourage me to start using computers more and more. It seemed like everyone was against me, until one day I found a friend.

It's interesting how extremely short-sighted people are when they are against something. It's like you are right and the whole world is wrong. Well, this time I was wrong.

I had never thought, not even for one second, that the Internet would be a thing I would come to enjoy and even become more or less addicted to until I met and started to like a particular girl. She messed up my mind; it was like I had an earthquake in my mind. The next thing I knew, I was seated for two hours in front of the same screen that I was hating one hour ago and writing a love letter as if I was Shakespeare. I spent two hours doing something I had never done before.

The next thing I tried on the Internet was research. I went to different sites and experienced them all - even a little porn site that came up on my screen. I never realized how much information you can find with the Internet.

I started to experience different activities on the Internet. I found my first online girlfriend by using chat. I purchased my first online CD by starting out at www.yahoo.com.

Talking to the folks back home

I started communicating with my family and friends at home in Belgrade every single day by e-mail. It is cheaper, easier and more interesting than just hanging out in front of the phone and looking at the stupid wall while you are talking to someone.

You can talk to somebody online and still look at all the different things on the Net at the same time. I was amazed by this entire new world that had opened up for me.

I started signing up for different computer classes and learning more about this powerful tool. My parents were really happy for me, because they did not have to pay such high phone bills any more. They go over to a friend's house almost every day and use the computer there to write me something really quick.

Day-by-day, night-by-night the Internet became an important part of my life.

Now paid to spend time online

Now, that I am so familiar with them I even have a job that utilizes my knowledge of computers and the Internet. I became a student worker in the Elon University computer labs - I'm called a "computer consultant."

Because of this, I spend more time with computers than I spend sleeping some days. I write my papers while I am working and using the Internet as much as possible. I log on to different sites so I can still be in touch with my friends and family while I am doing some homework.

While working in the labs, I usually log on to www.realplayer.com and listen some music while I am writing papers for classes. I also use Instant Messenger while I am working. It's the way I stay in touch with my friends and family.

I can spend hours talking to somebody over Instant Messenger; I just get into it and forget the time. Next thing you know, it is so late that is almost time for bed. I've been in trouble a few times when I did not finish my homework or I was late to a class because I was talking to someone online, but it doesn't happen very often.

While I am doing my homework now, I have to have something else going on at the same time, otherwise I would get bored.

Internet brings some maturity

The Internet has helped me make a lot of progress in my life, and it has brought forth a lot of changes that are going to be a part of me forever.

I had negative impressions about the Net, and they were all wrong. Now I have dreams and they are right. It's never too late to start your relationship with the Internet. All you have to do is click the mouse, and you can be wherever you want to be, talk with whoever you want to talk with, and not worry about anything else.

Do not hesitate and wait to make your first contact with the computer and the Internet, because the more you wait the less you learn. The Internet is a fantastic new school with a world full of information just waiting for you to tap into it.


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