Hello Virtual Reality: Do You Know How to Use The Internet?

The Internet of the 1990s was a new and exciting place, full of exciting places to visit, and ways to connect to the world around us. That said, the Internet of the 1990s caused parents to worry about what their kids were up to (this was in the pre-Stranger Danger Days, of course), which necessitates a guide for kids (by kids) about using the internet, up to and including safety online.

Of course, we couldn’t get a very 90s group of kids to present this topic, so we wound up with the most whitebread family of Internet users EVER…and their children’s equally vanilla-flavored whitebread friends.

It’s a journey not just of vanilla-flavored whitebread-ness (let’s see how many more times I can throw that expression around like free candy), but also of earbleeders (the counterproductive cousin of the earworm), old website designs, now-extinct Internet Service Providers, and the Jamison Family.

I’m sure they’re important somewhere, but here, they’re schooling us on…THE INTERNET!

On your mark, get set…you’re riding on the internet!

But first…

Meet the Jamison Family!

Who?

Just meet them. It’s ok, they’re harmless. After all, vanilla-flavored whitebread people are harmless. I mean come on, dad is wearing a sweater, so you know they’re harmless!

Anyway, the Jamison Family!

Mom, Dad, Peter, and Dasha!

And they recently got connected to this amazing new thing called…THE INTERNET!

They’re loving everything they’ve learned so far, but their friends (Andrew and Lisa) don’t have internet in their home, and Peter and Dasha would like to show them the joys of having it.

This of course, means kicking Mom and Dad out of the computer area (which is smack in the middle of the family living room, because why not?) so the Jamison kids can show their friends (clearly related, and clearly Italian – not at all Vanilla-flavored Whitebread like the Jamison family) how to use the internet.

I could write a recap of this, make fun of everything I see that’s incredibly dated in this video, but this article would be longer than it deserves to be. You don’t need that. So, I’m just going to turn it over to you. Click play, and see what the ultimate kids guide to the Internet (by kids, for kids) actually looks like!

Especially email writing!

Hurry up, click play!

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My Take

Um, wow.

Actually, all “too cheesy for 2019” aside, in 1997, this was a pretty comprehensive guide to using the internet. The acting is pretty terrible, and that’s really not a surprise – these “for kids, by kids” instructional videos are still written by adults who think they know how kids talk and think (Related: Home Alone With Malcolm-Jamal Warner…and Friends! and How To Be Cool At Parties…With Malcolm-Jamal Warner). But as far as the information goes, from a nostalgic point of view, it is amazing to see where the internet was in 1997, as compared to where it is now.

I still can’t believe there was a time where we had to say “www” in front of every website!

Or that we watched videos in this style!

I did. And it was impressive back then. No fullscreen for us, just a tiny moving image we hoped our 56K modem could handle

Seeing the internet as it was in 1997 really takes me back – I had Netscape through Bell Atlantic as my first ISP, and the websites looked exactly like this.

Once you remove your 2019 hat and really get back into the way things were in the 1990s, only then can you appreciate what this video explains.

Of course, had they shown this in school, we would have laughed at the terrible acting.

Oh, and what kid wants to see The Rolling Stones with their Vanilla-flavored Whitebread parents? Do these parents even know what The Rolling Stones are…or did they learn by going on…THE INTERNET?

Honestly, I think Mom Jamison is every time Amy Poehler and Kristin Wiig played a housewife on Saturday Night Live.

You’ll never unsee that.

And speaking of things you’ll never unsee, the Jamison Family did another guide video (for kids, of course) about computers before this one.

I guess I’ll be talking about that one next!

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Allison L. Venezio

Secretary/Blogger-Writer at Allison's Written Words and Retroist
Allison is a Secretary by day, a writer/blogger by night (and during lunch breaks and in the mornings before work), a nostalgia geek (and a geek in general), worshipper of Thor (and Chris Hemsworth), and honorary Avenger (she has a pin, so it is official).She collects Funko Pops, loves anything that takes her back to childhood, and has confessed her love for Kenny Loggins.Oh, and she listens to Chicago...alot.If any of this piques your interest, she'd love for you to visit her personal blog, Allison's Written Words, where she talks about alot of the same stuff she talks about here, and more!

She can be found at allisonveneziowrites.com.You can follow her blog on Facebook (facebook.com/allisonswrittenwords), Instagram @allisonswrittenwords, and on Twitter @AllisonGeeksOut.

(Her fiancee is supportive of the whole Chris Hemsworth and Kenny Loggins love thing.)
Allison L. Venezio
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