I do like the Internet. Granted it has good points and bad points. Of course, so does money. If I had a couple of million dollars I could do a lot of good with it and feed the hungry or pay a homeless person’s medical bills and such. Of course a couple of million dollars would also enable me to do a lot of evil. I’d tell you about the evil, but maybe, just maybe I’ll hit the lottery. But most everything has good uses and bad uses. Such is the case with the Internet. Al Gore’s magical invention allows a person access to countless sermons and access to graphic pornography. How weird is that? And even a pre-schooler can work it. Back in the net’s early days, my boys could poke around and find video games to play online (while I watched intently over their shoulders. Hey, somebody had to teach me how to find the fun video games!) at the ages of five and three. I have a picture of them sitting on my desk, having commandeered my computer, playing games and laughing, probably laughing at me.

These days, computers are everywhere. Many schools give kids a laptop to use throughout high school. When I started high school, I got a pencil. And I think I had to pay a dime for it. The problem is that when kids use the Internet in school, they are experts in using the Internet for everything except school work. Sure there are filters so certain websites cannot be accessed, but even if you can keep these kids from changing passwords or working around the system you simply cannot block every time-wasting website.

Even if you have never surfed the Internet, you’ve heard of Facebook. It started ten years ago at Harvard as (I’m not making this up.) a way for some geeky guys to meet girls. Since that time most kids have moved onto other social websites and left Facebook to their parents’ and grandparents’ generation. Just getting acquainted with a site kids used to enjoy, you can see that there are plenty of ways to get off task. Twitter is the most popular social site with kids now, but there isn’t much to do except talk to your friends and point them to something else entertaining on a different site. In a weird way, the Facebook is now used more for the parents of college students to meet girls. Or guys. Some people socialize better when we don’t have to get dressed, brush our teeth, and get in the car and drive.

But it’s not just the social networking sites that kids (and me) can waste time and stay off-task. There are countless sites where simple games can be played in order to prevent actual work getting done. And let me say that I am recommending none of these sites. But you can get a realistic look at what it might look like if you suddenly woke up after falling asleep while watching a movie on DVD. The site: www.youfellasleepwatchingadvd.com which is an animated living room with the video screen playing the opening/closing screen from a number of different movies. You can even choose the movie.

How about this; let’s say you have a kid bugging you wanting to know if it’s finally Christmas Day. Just tell him to go to www.isitchristmas.com and check. It takes you to a screen that simply says, “NO.” That’s the entire site. Or maybe the kid wants to know what it would be like to be blind. The bad taste site can be found at www.HelenKellerSim.com. I won’t spoil the joke for you. Just don’t expect much. Or you can waste time at www.pointerpointer.com which features an array of pictures of people pointing. My personal favorite is www.kimjongunlookingatthings.com which features the North Korean leader looking at various objects.

Perhaps you would like to try surfing the Internet. “Surfing” is simply a term that means looking around the Internet. You can’t “walk” the Internet. You can’t “swim.” You must surf, don’t ask me why. It’s a rule. When you do surf, be on the lookout for these bits of silliness that populate the web and always pop up when all you want to do is research the latest financial news or find the results from the Winter Olympics. They always pop in, so unless you have a strong will, pack a lunch and prepare to be off-task for a while.