Long, long ago…in a galaxy far, far away…there was no such thing as the Internet. Gasp! Can you believe it? Are we talking about the Dark Ages? Nope! We're talking about just a couple of decades ago!

Think about your day to day life. How many times each day do you use a computer? How many times each day do you access the Internet? How many devices in your home are connected to the Internet?

Computers and the Internet have become such an integral part of our daily lives that it's hard to imagine going back to a life without them. Yet human beings survived for tens of thousands of years without these things. How did they do it?

When the Internet first developed, it was used to help scientists conduct and share research. Its possibilities were soon realized, however, and its use spread exponentially each year of its existence. Today, people use the Internet for all sorts of reasons…or no reason at all.

Have you ever jumped online simply out of boredom? Millions of people go online each day merely for entertainment or to pass the time. To the list of things like books, music, movies, and television, you can now add surfing the Internet as a primary source of entertainment and passing the time.

So how many people actually use the Internet today? According to some estimates, as much as 40% of the world's population has an Internet connection. That's a huge increase from only 1% in 1995.

The number of Internet users continues to grow steadily. In 2005, the number of Internet users surpassed 1 billion. Just five years later, that number had doubled to over 2 billion. This year — 2014 — should see that number pass the 3 billion mark! That's a lot of Internet users!

Today, about 75% of all Internet users live in the top 20 countries (the countries with the largest economies). The other 25% are spread out amongst the remaining 176 countries. The country with the most Internet users is China with over 640 million users. That total is more than the next three countries — United States, India, and Japan — combined.

Of all those billions of Internet users, children represent a large proportion of users. From computers in school to mobile devices, children are growing up in a connected world. Studies have shown that over 75% of children spend more than two hours each day of “screen time," which means time spent in front of a computer, television, or mobile device.

Experts believe too much screen time can be harmful to children. For example, excessive screen time has been linked to many problems, such as elevated blood pressure, high cholesterol, and obesity. If you're one of the 75% that spend more than two hours per day in front of a screen, consider cutting back and getting outside instead. Unplug and enjoy the natural world! Your body will thank you!

Wonder What's Next?

Get your buns over to Wonderopolis tomorrow! We’ll be sinking our teeth into a juicy Wonder of the Day that’ll leave you hungry for more…