How Does the Internet Work – Explained for Kids

Last Updated: 30/01/23 4

“I will google that” “Let’s meet online” “check that on the internet” “what website did you read that on?”

These are a few very familiar things we hear about the Internet.

So what exactly is the internet? And how are all these terms different? The internet, the browser, the website?

To explain in very simple language, all the world’s linked-up computers collectively are called the Internet.

In the class, we discuss in detail about the internet. Starting from the evolution of communication that led to the invention of the internet to the very components that form the internet.

Class Summary:

0:26 – Introducing Mitthi and Mitthu and their communication woes in the pre-internet era. A few interesting ways suggested by kids to communicate were: firecrackers for longer distances, flashlights for short distances using binary code.

2:35 – What is Binary Code? It’s a coding system using the binary digits 0 and 1 to represent a letter, digit, or other characters. Here is a representation of the torchlight being used to communicate in binary code. 


That seems fun but can be very confusing if we do not set any rules. The same is the case with any type of communication.

Team Activity: Two teams of students can sit at opposite sides and communicate one and zero through a flash light. Set the codes to start the game and receiving team needs to decode the message. This will be a fun activity to teach Binary communication. Will improve observation ability and attentiveness as well. Share your feedback with us post the activity.

7:29 – A standard set of rules that allow electronic devices to communicate with each other is called Protocols.

Individual Activity: Can you write rules, etiquette and best practices to be followed while attending an online class? That sheet refers to the protocol of the class.

8:29 – What do you do to communicate when at distance? A kid suggest to use Diwali fireworks. Actually in earlier centuries, specially military were using firecrackers to communicate and send signals to bridges at distance. We are no more in that era though!

11:05 – Communication between two computers is possible by connecting them with a cable called LAN(Local Area Network) or Network cable.

Network cable

13:09 – This form of communication is Peer to peer communication where information from a sender is sent directly to a receiver, with no intermediary.

Copper wires inside the LAN cable transfer electric signals(on and off) which is similar to Binary code.

19:12 – Converting the characters to Binary Code. It’s like deciphering in Cryptography. An ASCII number is assigned to all the characters using which characters can be converted to binary codes. 

Binary code for HAVI

Havi Binary code

22:07 – Peer to peer communication is not a feasible option when communicating to longer distances and specially when communicating within multiple people(computers). Hence came the need for a server.

What is a server?

As the name itself implies, it’s a device that serves information(data) to other computers, known as clients, over a network. 

Internet server connection

In a real-world example, a server is storage for web pages that responds when someone enters the website address into a browser.

27:04 – So, how are these servers located in different parts of the world connected? The inter-country and continent communication happens through fiber optic cables, which use light to transmit data at breakneck speeds.

28: 43 – These fiber optics are put in undersea cables or submarine communication cables which are laid on the sea bed between land-based stations.

Under sea optical fiber cable

30:11 – What is a bit?

It is the smallest unit of information storage.

1 Bit = 1 Bit

8 Bits = 1 Byte

1024 Bytes = 1 Kilobyte

1024 Kilobytes = 1 Megabyte

So on…

35:30 – What is a browser?

Browser is a software we use to enter into the internet and open websites. Browser is the one who talks with servers, in binary though. Browsers are like the entry point to the internet.

Here is how the browser works:

  • We type a website’s URL into a browser’s address bar; “http://localhost/havi” is an example of a URL.
  • The browser locates and requests that page’s information from a web server.
  • The browser receives a file in a computer code, which includes instructions about how to display the information on that page.
  • The browser interprets that file and displays the page for us to read and interact with. 

All this happens within a few seconds. That’s the simplest possible breakdown of magic called the Internet. 

Kids have asked many questions during the class. Do you have any other questions? Ask them bellow and we will answer.

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