An introduction to this study of family use of the Internet.
"The computer provides me with information, research methods,
entertainment, and it saves me money. Maybe my family will never need it or
really have any use for it, but at this point in my life I feel that in a certain
sense I would be lost without it."
One of the greatest advances of today is the Internet. All around the world people are using it to meet new people, do research, bank online, file taxes, do schoolwork, play videos games and download music. The Internet has changed some people's lives dramatically, and others are either just now getting started on the Net or have not yet even had the opportunity to experience the Internet. My family falls into all of these categories.
College inspired first use
Since I started college, I have been an avid Internet user. Before college, the only time I ever used a computer was when I had to type a paper. I probably used the Internet two to four times throughout my years in high school because it wasn't really implemented in my studies.
My parents were never around computers at work, and neither one of them had a computer at home until just recently. My dad now has my old computer at home, and he has been on the Internet only a few times. I'm on the Elon University baseball team, and he searches around to try to find out the scores of games that he cannot attend.
My mom has never really used the Internet. She is a dental assistant, and she is never involved with the Net at work. She says she has tried looking around on the Internet twice and both of those two experiences were to get my baseball schedule off our Web site at Elon University.
My mom's parents do not use the computer at all. They have never had a computer and they have never been online. My dad's father does use a computer, but it is used to look up prices and different items to help him inform his customers of what is available at his company at the current time.
Staying connected with IM
While at school you can find my Instant Messenger on all the time. It is the way I communicate with friends here and friends at other schools.
Instant Messenger is free, and I don't have to pay any money to make a long-distance phone calls, so this helps out a lot. I don't really like talking on the phone, so this is my main way of communicating with the people I know and don't know.
This has also helped me meet different people across the world, and I think this is very important for a college student to experience. This is one of my favorite things to do on the computer.
Saving money a definite advantage
Over my 21 years of living I have loved listening to music, especially before competing at my sporting events. It helps to get the blood flowing before a game.
My parents have just recently purchased a new computer for me. It is a Compaq and it has everything - even a CD burner. I enjoy getting on Napster and downloading music. I use my CD burner and mix CDs for myself.
This is very helpful because now I don't have to spend $15 or $20 buying a CD when sometimes there are just five songs you like on that CD if even that many.
I can make a CD with at least 20 songs on it that I know I will like. Sometimes it is difficult to get on Napster. Then I turn to other sites such as Scour Exchange, and Imesh.
Having fun and keeping in touch
Some of the time I use the Internet strictly for enjoyment purposes. I like to play games on the computer. The game I play most frequently is Deer Hunter 2.
I also check my e-mail about once a day and respond to those that I haven't spoken with in a while. I have a lot of friends at college that I don't get to see often and by e-mailing them I feel like I am still involved in what is happening in their lives.
I think e-mail is a wonderful way to stay in touch. It is fast and efficient and a great way to stay connected and opens the lines of communication.
Baseball information at your fingertips
I consistently check the Elon University Web site, particularly my baseball team's statistics. Under the roster link, you are able to click on each player's name and receive his statistics.
Our coach usually updates these before the season gets under way. I also check out the Web sites of other teams that we play during the season.
Checking out their players' statistics helps me see what we are going to be up against when we play them.
It's always good for research
Of course the Internet is always useful for research purposes. Yes, believe it or not, I do go to school and have plenty of papers to write.
The Internet makes it so much easier to find information on virtually anything. Although the library is helpful too, I am not always up for going or maybe just don't have the time.
I like being able to research at my own leisure and relax and watch television or listen to music while I am doing so. Those are things that you can't do at the library.
Besides I think that a lot of the information that is offered online I probably would not have found in the library, having to sort through tons of books and other sources of information.
I would be lost without it
As far as I can see, the Internet has impacted my life in more ways than one. It is definitely a positive impact, and it allows me to be versatile in the ways I am able to use it.
The computer provides me with information, research methods, entertainment, and it saves me money.
Maybe my family will never need it or really have any use for it, but at this point in my life I feel that in a certain sense I would be lost without it.
Elon University, North Carolina
2700 Campus Box
Elon, N.C. 27244-2010 (800) 334-8448
Last Modified:January 2001
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