I was first introduced to my parents’ computer when I was about six years old, in the year of 1998. I was in the 1st Grade at the time, and the computer looked a lot like this:
I remember using that computer to play a variety of PC games that grew popular among young children at that time, including Detective Barbie: The Mystery of the Carnival Caper, Reader Rabbit’s 1st Grade, Barbie Riding Club, Freddie Fish: The Case of the Stolen Conch Shell, Candy Land, Ariel’s Story Studio, Jump Start 2nd Grade, and The Easy Bake Kitchen PC Game.
When I was about eight years old, I started using the Internet. It was around that time that my older cousin, Bartek, who was around eighteen, came to visit from Poland. He was extremely tech-savvy and first showed me, then taught me, how to use the Internet. I remember watching him in wonder and taking in all that he had taught me like a sponge. Very soon after, I remember finding a website called www.neopets.com on my own. Instantly, it became my favorite website and my new obsession.
I remember having no difficulty whatsoever, at the age of eight, creating my own neopets.com account without the help of my parents or cousin. I did, however, have plenty of trouble activating my account upon logging in. I remember it so vividly, and it surprises me because this was so long ago. In order to activate an account, and this goes for any account that is created even today, one must have a valid email address. I had absolutely no concept or idea of what an email address was, or how one would go about using it, or of the fact that setting up an email address required me to set up a whole new account on a whole other website. My cousin hadn’t taught me that. I remember how frustrated I was. I was so intrigued by this website, but found that I could not continue on to it or its games without activating it first. So, I struggled for about two weeks but finally, through some miracle, activated that account, which further implied that I had somehow managed to create an email. I remember how unbelievably happy and proud of myself I was. I also remember telling my parents about it, though they had absolutely no idea what I was talking about.