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Section 4: Understanding the Internet

Introduction

The Internet is an important tool for job searches, education, research, communication, and connection. This section will include information on understanding the Internet, digital literacy and social media, and securing your personal data.

You may have noticed, or will notice in the future, that certain words on the Web are the color blue and may also be underlined. Whenever you see a word or phrase that looks like this, it is often a hyperlink, or link for short.

To learn more about hyperlinks, and gain practice using them, please click the button below.


Internet Browsers

A web browser is a software application that allows you to locate and view websites on the Internet. There are many different web browsers available, but some of the most commonly used ones include Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari, Microsoft Edge, and Internet Explorer. The icons for each of these browsers are shown below.

Internet Explorer
Microsoft Edge
Mozilla Firefox
Google Chrome
Apple Safari

Searching The Internet

You can find information on the Internet by either typing a URL (internet address) or using a search engine. This section will help you find information. Common search engines are Google, Yahoo, and Bing.

When you type in a question or information in a search engine, it is called a search string. The search engine will find all the results containing the words you are looking for.

This example uses the search string for elections. Notice there are 1,580,000,000 results. This is too many resources to look through.

There are more effective ways to search content.

If you would like to learn more about Internet basics, please click the button below.


Filter Bubbles and Reliable Resources

The number of websites and resources is almost impossible to accurately count, and even more complicated to evaluate for reliability. Yet, even with all of this information, we see a relatively small number of active websites, and come across information that appears reliable, but when closely evaluated, contains biased or unreliable information.

The small number of websites we interact with can cause us to be in a filter bubble, a situation where we encounter information that reinforces our existing opinions and beliefs. Check out this TED Talk to learn more about these bubbles.

So, now that you understand a bit about filter bubbles and echo chambers, what is the next step? It is understanding how to find reliable resources.


Checklists for Reliability

The following is a checklist for evaluating websites for reliability. Review the checklist and then apply what you have learned.

Let's apply what you've just read to the story of the Endangered Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus. Click on the image and evaluate the resource.

Based on the information learned about evaluating resources, is the website, Help Save the Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus, a reliable site?

Websites aren't the only online resource that should be evaluated. Read the following article about identifying false images online.

For additional practice, please click the button below to learn more about online information relevance, bias, and how to use snopes.com. Snopes is a well-known and trusted source for verifying Internet rumors.


Managing Social Media

Social media is simply a collection of online communities where users share content and interact or collaborate with others. Some of the most popular types of social media are networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp, Linkedin, Snapchat and bookmarking sites like Pinterest. When posting on social media and sharing content online, it is important to keep in mind that your posts can be viewed by others, including future employers. Managing your online profile and remaining professional is important when seeking a job.

For tutorials on each social media platform, please click the button below.

While the goal for many social media sites is to build connections and create content, your online presence is an important consideration when looking for a job. Check out the TED Talk about managing your online presence.

So, how do you manage your social media? Let's look at managing your privacy.


Protecting your Privacy

Why do you need to care about your privacy? And what do your social media 'likes' tell others about you and your preferences? According to a recent U.S. Department of Justice study, an estimated 10% of persons age 16 and older reported that they had been victims of identity theft during a 12-month period. Total monetary losses across all types of identity theft totaled $17.5 billion during that time.

Check out these two TED Talks to learn more about what your social media presence says about you and why privacy matters.