As our country celebrates the 13 years of the Philippine Internet, I realized that I should also be also celebrating for I have been using the Internet for a decade now. 10 years, a decade has gone by yet it seems that I have been “connected” to the Internet as long as I can remember that it seems so hard to live without it anymore.
I was introduced to the internet be my boyfriend in 1997, I have been hearing about it since 1995 but had no opportunity to gain access to it for only some companies have been using the Internet. I had no idea that as a private citizen/consumer I could have access to it through an ISP(internet service provider) and pay a subscription fee, my boyfriend had access to the Internet at his office and told my that it is a must to use the Internet specially for us in the IT field.
I remember availing of a dial-up subscription for 30 hrs a month from an ISP called Manila Online, using a Netscape Navigator and before the end of the first week I almost maxed out my 30 hrs subscription and called the ISP to upgrade my subscription to unlimited access for 2,500 php(I’m not sure about this price). From then on I was hooked, addicted, I had more than five e-mail addresses: hotmail, excite, even an e-mail from Garfield.com. Had my own homepage in geocities filled with pictures, love poems dedicated to my boyfriend then – now my husband, colorful gif and music in midi format.
I was a certified chat addict and can stay the whole day without even eating chatting the day away at http://www.excite.com/ chat rooms, learned the art of making friends and even the art of arguing in the chat rooms. I was connected to the cyberworld through ICQ but now I switched to Yahoo! Messenger. I had friends all over the world, Americans, Spanish and even received a marriage proposal online from a Hawaiian guy. I actively attend eyeballs and even celebrated my 25th Birthday with my chat mates, I even had a chat mates that became my student in college a year later.
At the age of 26 I had gotten over being a chat addict and focus my energies in using the internet for my own enrichment, reading various topics that helped me a lot while taking my masters degree and becoming a good teacher.
13 things I learned in using the Internet
- Not all information readily available in the internet is 100% true and we have to verify the information before we disseminate it to other people.
- Decide what personal information about yourself and your family you want to expose or voluntarily post in the internet. You must keep in mind that there are different people reading them and some might actually pose a threat to you and your family’s safety. Don’t readily give information like where do you live, work or give out your daily routines to someone you just met in the internet, for they might stalk you.
- Open e-mail attachments from people you personally know or the file attached is really relevant to you, E-mail attachments specially forwarded files often contains viruses and spywares.
- Don’t give your e-mail passwords to your friends or family even if they are close to you. They may open you e-mails and read them or worse impersonate you and do bad things that will be blamed on you later on. It happened to me a few years ago when my cousin used my email account and use my name for chatting while I was out of the country and after a month a man called me at home and asked why I stood him up at our date and I had to explain that I was the person he has chatted with.
- Files and softwares often given free in the internet sometimes come with a free virus too.
- Communicating with loved ones became much easier with the use of the internet but it must be just a supplement, for nothing can replace a face to face conversation and physical touch.
- Use e-mail address names that are simple and easy to remember, to avoid forgetting them specially if you don’t regularly use them. Every e-mail address forgotten may be lost forever for you can’t ask for help if you don’t know the email address.
- If you have multiple accounts like e-mails, group memberships, blogs, etc., try using one uniform password for all of them to avoid confusion.
- Use passwords that are alphanumeric and with minimum of 8 characters to guard yourself against phising.
- Researching medical conditions on the internet is good if it is used for references and background information about a certain disease but should not be used for self medication.
- Being a chatter is OK just make sure that you have a life outside the cyber space, family and friends are also present in you real world.
- Being connected to the Internet cost money specially if your just accessing it on a pc rental cafes or at hoem using ISPs. Think of someways that you can earn using you access to the Internet, sort of "return of investment".
- The Internet is here to stay, and as citizens of these cyber universe we have to support it and think of ways on how we can contribute in improving it.