There’s no User Manual for the Internet? Seriously?

What is the Internet died?

Before introducing 6th graders to e-mail and blogs, I like to throw a few scenarios at them, one of which is to imagine what it might be to get onto a computer and not have access to anything online.

Last week, soon after that freak flood in the Phoenix metro area, I showed them a ‘story’ how the Internet died, and may never come back.

The keyword here is ‘scenario.’ As in a what-if.

I think it’s important to get young people to think of the ‘plumbing’ of this thing we call the Internet. It could start an interesting discussion of things most of us take for granted: hyperlinks, networks, the cloud, and now more than ever, Wi-Fi.

Unlike for many other technologies they use here in the Lab, and in their homes, there is no user-manual for the Internet.

Well, there is one – sort of. It is a cross between a set of best practices and a code of conduct that we need to pass down to young people who assume the Internet will be always on.


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