On August 6 1991, the World Wide Web became available to the public (Bryant, 2011). Talking with my dad, Chris, I found that my household didn’t get the Internet until 1999. Even though dad admitted we had a computer in 1995, he said there was no need for it back then. I put this down to the fact that it was expensive and that their friends didn’t have to Internet so why did they need it. After searching for the price to run the Internet in 1995, it honestly seemed to be relatively cheap. Charged by the hour, some companies charged as little as $9.95 a month, which gave enough data to last 5 hours and every hour after that cost $2.95 (Forever Geek, 2007). Maybe in today’s society, that could become expensive, BUT back then I’m sure people weren’t spending every moment on their prehistoric computers. It wasn’t until 1999, when my brother started kindergarten, that we got a new computer and Internet connection. Mum recalls that our Internet provider was Iprimus and to this day I still remember that connection sound.
In my house now we have two laptops, three phones and a tablet connecting to our wireless Internet. The three phones also have their own 3G data. None of these belong to Chris, as he is absolutely clueless about technology and the Internet. Chris does use our family desktop computer, which has really become his computer. According to a study by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS, 2014), between 2012-13, 83% of people in Australia were Internet users and almost every user (97%) accessed the Internet from their homes (ABS, 2014). Personally, I believe this is due to the introduction of wireless Internet, where people are more likely to use their laptops or phones for Internet when at home to save money on other data plans.
For my week 2 blog, I interviewed my mum, Lisa, on her television memories as a child. This week I wanted to interview Lisa again and discuss her Internet habits as an adult. Lisa admits that she has always tried to “keep up with the Jones’ “ when it comes to new products. She always says to Chris (who still has a flip phone) “you need to keep up with technology otherwise you’ll fall too far behind”. Chris only just recently discovered “the hole in the wall” known as the ATM and online banking. Before that, he would go into a bank or transfer money between accounts by calling and entering numbers on the keypad.
This became a topic of interest with Lisa and we started to discuss the ways in which the Internet changed banking habits and paying the bills. Lisa said that before the Internet, her and Chris would share who paid the bills. As Chris worked at the council, it was easy for him to pay the council rates and it was easy for Lisa to call up and pay bills via a credit card. When online banking became available, Lisa was happy to learn how to use it. The responsibility moved to her, as she was able to set up specific accounts for certain bills. In doing this, it was easier for her just to pay the bills over the phone, as she knew how the accounts were set up. When paying bills online was introduced Lisa did this as well because Chris had no idea how.
In my tutorial, we shared our funny stories of where our modem was kept or memories of our own Internet use. Some of these stories re-jogged my memory of my Internet usage. Having dial-up Internet at the time, it is crazy to think back at how you could not use the landline phone whilst surfing the web. Something that also popped up for discussion was the human-like quality that we give our Internet. We personify our Internet by saying “where’s the Internet gone” if it suddenly cuts out, or by giving the modem its own table in the house. In my household, I think that the most arguing that goes on about the Internet is between Lisa, my brother Sam and I. For a moment last year, well lets says 6 months, our Internet would just ‘drop-out’. This caused endless arguments in our house, particularly when it came to selecting University tutorials. If too many people were using the Wi-fi, our connection would drop out so generally the conversation (more like yelling) would go like this, “No one use the Internet until 7:13, I have to pick a Uni tutorial”. Only recently, we finally got it fixed and our Wi-fi troubles have disappeared and the Internet is faster than ever. We are still waiting to be connected to the NBN but in all honesty, I’m glad we’re not as I have heard many issues from friends about how slow the Internet is. The Internet really has changed the ways in which we use media and the space in which we use our technologies, and for the better at that.
Australian Bureau of Statistics 2014, Household Use of Information Technology, Australia, 2012-13, viewed 24th August 15, http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/8146.0Chapter32012-13
Bryant, M 2011, 20 years ago today, the World Wide Web opened to the public, The Next Web, viewed 24th August 15, http://thenextweb.com/insider/2011/08/06/20-years-ago-today-the-world-wide-web-opened-to-the-public/
Forever Geek 2007, What did Online Access cost (per hour) in 1995?, viewed 24th August 15, http://www.forevergeek.com/2007/04/what_did_online_access_cost_per_hour_in_1995/