The Internet can be viewed as a delivery mechanism for a range of services that are continuously evolving and being suited for by different people, for different needs (Anderson, Tracey 2012 p. 462). As stated by Anderson and Tracey, the average Internet user simply does not exist due to the limitless reasons, uses, applications and needs for participating in this interconnected network. Hence, when analyzing its usage in a family household it is obvious that it changes our inclination and preference for interaction, our reliance for constant accessibility and how we spend our time in different spaces while engaged online.
From the proliferation of the Internet that grew into the 21st century, it has now painted a widespread picture of how human interaction and technological uses have changed. In 1996, roughly 1% of Australian households regularly used a computer at home according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, while only 26% of these had a modem capable of networking beyond the home (Telsyte 2015 p. 1). Even considering my own experience growing up with the introduction of the Internet in our household, the methods of using it and how we used it were very different to nowadays.
Building on my discussion with dad about growing up with the television, when we discussed the Internet in our household it brought back many blasts from the past. From that iconic dial-up tune to the short yellow cord that connected into our laptops – the evolvement of the internet in our house has seen it once be restrained in one room, to being accessed in many. Hence, our own uses and appreciation of the Internet has changed dramatically due to the everlasting progress of it.
For my dad, the only communication tool that he uses on his computer is his email as he believes that Facebook just isn’t for him. Understandably, I can agree that perhaps Facebook wouldn’t be suited for my dad, but at least he still manages to operate his emails without any trouble. As stated by Bridgette Wessels (2010 p. 186), the character of participation in Internet communication maintains its interactive and flexible aspects. Therefore Internet communication is individualised and well networked, hence leaving its different social appeals open to interest and different use by each person (Wessels 2010, p. 186). So quite simply, the Internet can happily allow my dad to operate a singular method of communication, while for my sister and myself, multiple can be used.
The ability to connect in this highly communicative society is of paramount importance. Hence the ability for people to participate online has become a major daily activity and also an activity that occurs in new, different and unfamiliar places. Therefore, when we look at the Internet usage as a microcosm in family households, it is hard to imagine broader society functioning without it. Our family households depict the spaces that we can access the Internet, the online and offline audience we are engaging with, and our own usage of different media platforms. Hence as Wessels puts forth (2010 p. 187), it is critical that we acknowledge the changing social, economic, political and cultural dynamics of the Internet so we can help shape its future usage and its relationship to broader social life.
Anderson B, Tracey K, 2001, ‘Digital Living: The Impact (or Otherwise) of the Internet on Everyday British Life,’ vol. 45 No. 3, SAGE Publications, USA, p. 462
Telsyte, 2015, ‘Internet Uninterrupted: Australian Households of the Connected Future,’ Telsyte Australian Digital Consumer Study 2016, Australia, p.1
Wessels B, 2010, ‘Understanding the Internet: A Socio-Cultural Perspective,’ MacMillan Publishers Limited, China, p. 186-187
Mitchell B, 2017, ‘What Is an Ethernet Port?’ viewed August 17th 2017 <https://www.lifewire.com/what-is-an-ethernet-port-817546>