A recent post, from a fellow blogger has lead me to look back on my history with the internet. The sites I used to go to, the things I used to do. My adventures in “internet land” began in 2004. (before that, I had convinced everyone around me that I despised computers… this is not a fact.) In 2004 I was obsessed with horses, horses, dogs, anything with four legs (almost). I wanted to get out there! and see more! … and I was in fourth grade but that didn’t matter.
before I begin, I must say… I remember the days of dial-up internet. I remember days where you couldn’t make a call if Dad was using the computer (or vis versa). I remember waiting an hour and a half for the computer to turn on. I am now seventeen and a freshman in college, my, technology moves quickly.
By the fourth grade (2004) I signed up for my first email by myself. My Dad had previously made me one with a ton of child-protection and he could see everything that came in and went out and that bothered me. So on my own, I made my first AOL email – mind you the email is probably long filled with spam by now. I remember the twinge I felt in my stomach as I clicked “I am 18 years or older” (I’m still not yet eighteen years old and have created quite a few emails and other accounts on the internet… oops. Second biggest lie to “I have read the terms & conditions.”)
I was nine, not even close. But I wanted that email, so I did. It was worth it, who was going to come knock down my door and take my email away… right? After creating that email, I proceeded to create a neopets account and play games. That was the extent of my internet exploration, at that age.
by fifth grade, I’d discovered youtube- which was quite different back then. I was frequently searching “dog agility” and watching crufts agility (not much has changed there..). Come seventh grade I created my second (still existant) youtube account and by then, I’d considered myself an internet regular.
But I’ll have you know I’ve picked up a few lessons along the way. For one, words don’t stop kids- at all. After the first time, I’d never thought twice about clicking the “Yes, I am at least 18 years old.” or even going as far as creating a fake date of birth, name, — essentially creating an internet-alias who I became… it was EASY. (but this also taught me, as easy it was for me, it was for everyone else)
I also learned never to label a video “don’t watch” because as much as you don’t want it to be seen, it will be seen by whomever you didn’t want to see it. Karma hurts, sometimes.
Needless to say, my parent’s didn’t really control my internet usage. They didn’t hover over me as I played neopets or any of the other online games I bombarded our old computer with, nor did they hesitate to let me go on the computer. It was an open door for me to venture out and see the world and for that- I think I will be forever grateful.
Why? Because of many reasons, including but not limited to the following. For the first time in my life, I grew independent, I was my own person not influenced by anyone else. I was also able to learn- a lot. I think I’ve learned the same amount of information from the internet as I have my entire high school career. I was quick to decide what I wanted to see and what I didn’t. What I wanted to know, and what I could care less about.
I think the internet is another world. After all, we interact, are able to gather information and even share information. But like the world, it has it’s dangers, benefits and it’s rule-breakers (guilty).