The Sideshow

The Internet as seen in 1997

Remember what the Internet was like in 1997?

A 27-minute instructional video that shows kids how to surf the then-nascent World Wide Web in the late '90s has found its way to YouTube — and is making the rounds online.

"The Kids' Guide to the Internet" features a nuclear family — the Jamisons! — as they learn to navigate the 'net and "chat on-line."

The video, produced by something called Diamond Entertainment Corp., promises to teach young computer users about Web pages, browsers, email, search engines, security issues, system requirements and "other 'Net' technology."

From the description:

Getting on-line! Access free information from the Net: kids will love all the magazines, TV reviews and learning sites. They will be entertained for hours while learning! Also: games, family travel tips, etc. You'll make new friends with similar interests, work on homework together, play games, and let your imagination soar! Find a special interest from among the thousands of Internet newsgroups.

The vintage footage, while awesome, is not quite as entertaining as this hilarious 1994 clip — unearthed in 2011 — of "Today" show co-hosts Katie Couric and Bryant Gumbel dumbfounded while discussing email.

"What is the Internet, anyway?" Gumbel asks without a shred of irony.

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