Most of us have had experience with the Internet either through school or visiting the library or surfing with friends at home. The Internet is the world's largest computer network - it's millions and millions of computers connected to each other, all over the world! The World Wide Web (or Web) is one part of the Internet (and most think, the coolest!). It allows you to move from one site to another or within one site with the click of a mouse.
Some people may ask, "Well, who controls this big network of computers?" The answer is, well, no one really. Sometimes the Internet seems too big and confusing. Where do I find what I want? How do I know if this site is any good? Who developed this site? How old is the information on this site? These are all good questions.
A good place to start on the Internet, when you don't know how to begin looking for what you want, is to use a Search Engine or Directory.
A Search Engine is like a big index of the Internet. You simply write in a question or enter words (depending on the particular Search Engine), hit ENTER and a special program called a robot or spider, searches out the Internet to find as many sites as it can with your words in its contents and/or answers to your questions. A good place to start for kids is Fact Monster.
A Directory is a listing of subjects for you to click on which will take you to sites that deal specifically with the subject you choose. A good one is The Internet Public Library - Youth Division.
Good luck and remember, the more focused your search, the better chance you'll have of finding what you want among the millions and millions of websites out there. If you prefer to just browse and look around, happy surfing!