Pros and Cons of the Internet (as Taught to Students in 1996)

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Last weekend, I was at my parents’ house in Connecticut for a family matter. As my sister went through some of the things in her childhood bedroom, she discovered a document from 1996, explaining the advantages and disadvantages of the Internet. This was apparently part of some high school handout packet; also included among the papers were tips on using Altavista and print outs of the Yahoo home page as viewed in Netscape.

Since we’re fans of tech nostalgia here, I thought I’d share the document with you. Surprisingly, many of the Internet’s perks and problems remain the same 15 years later, but some of them just seem silly in retrospect.

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Some thoughts:

  • Although the Internet is quite different now from what it was in 1996, its advantages–communicating with anyone around the world, consuming all kinds of content and getting information quickly–haven’t fundamentally changed. No one uses chat rooms anymore, though.
  • The rise of reputable sources on the Internet, combined with a more savvy user base, means reliability of information isn’t a huge issue today. Of course, you can’t believe everything you read, but that was true even before the Internet.
  • I suppose there are still “MANY” dead links on the Internet. But I rarely notice.
  • The paper seems optimistic that some day, the Internet will be secure. Hasn’t happened yet. And with users putting more information about themselves on the Internet than ever before, security is arguably a bigger issue than it was 15 years ago. One hack is all it takes for your personal details to get out.
  • The Internet is more organized today, but information overload remains, thanks to countless blogs and endless social network streams–none of which existed 15 years ago.
  • The idea that spending “hours” on the Internet was once classified as addiction now seems hilarious to me.

(Thanks, Heather.)

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This article originally appeared on Technologizer…