One thing I especially have come to appreciate about the Internet is the way it has aided in breaking down barriers that otherwise would have prevented communication. The
generation gap, for example, is nearly non-existent on the web. On occasion I have typed the wrong email name into my instant messenger; instead of sending an instant message to the intended friend have received an inquisitive reply and found myself in a fun and enlightening conversation with a teen-ager. Offline, this would have been less likely to happen with a young person I had no cause to know.
As for persons from other countries, the opportunities are endless to strike up friendships and/or business partners. With instant messaging and VOIP conferencing the world is becoming a smaller, more unified place. The endless acquaintances that are made online is so enriching and exciting. Before the WWW one had to travel extensively or spend endless hours writing letters to pen pals in order to find comradeliness in far away places. Business ventures with others in the far reaching ends of the earth existed, for the most part, only for large corporations.
It's as though the pioneering of the Web is a common denominator that draws us all together. Yet it is even more than just the discovery of a new, and still thoroughly discovered territory. It is more spiritual than that. Man is driven by his need for acceptance and companionship. Via the World Wide Web we now have a chance to extend beyond cultures and social stigmas.
One can cultivate relationships with no knowledge or particular concern of the others race, background, religion, age, etc. Individuals from other countries, and all walks of life are gathering in the great big meeting place to seek companionship, business relationships, and even find their soulmates. There is so much to learn and experience from a blend of all the cultural backgrounds. It is fascinating to see where this vast interweaving of human nature is going to take us in the future.
I do not mean to suggest, however, that there are no dangers. Always you should exercise caution. Potential harm is a probability, as in every facet of life. There are always the unscrupulous who seek to take advantage of the naive. For young persons there is the sex offender who lies in wait in the chat rooms, oftimes posing as another youth to ensnare these innocent children into meeting them offline. For the more mature there is the lure of get rich schemes and internet scams.
Good judgement is a necessity. There are many websites and organizations set up to protect your online experience. One should not fear, but take sensible precautions. For example, you can check out online businesses at the www.bbb.org/ (online Better Business Bureau. For the youths there are various parental guards that can be applied to your internet. Parental Lock Guard is one that can be downloaded for Free. Do a google search for a download link. Scambusters.org keeps an ongoing list of past and present scams on the Internet. Epinions.com is a place to go to get the opinions of other consumers on products and services on the Internet.
Exercise a few steps to ensure safe surfing and your pursuits on the Internet will bring you much excitement, great entertainment, lasting friendships, unsurpassed education, and challenging business ventures. So take the plunge and enjoy your journey on the Internet waves.