7 online internet basics courses for rural mums and dads

Mother and daughter on the internet

Break free of the kids and their tech talk takedowns. Get basic internet knowledge with these basic internet courses online. Perfect for rural parents. 


Are you a rural mum or dad who is far more comfortable out on the farm than you are in front of a computer?

Perhaps you just prefer to do things in a more traditional manner?

Do your kids bamboozle you with tech talk (or give it a red hot go at least)?

Not everyone is techie. In fact, there are 12 per cent of Australians who don’t even use the internet at all! *

You may be among the tons of people out there who much prefer being outdoors, getting their hands dirty, and/or just communicating with people face-to-face rather than losing yourself in the depths of the world wide web.

The reality is though, basic internet knowledge is now a critical part of modern life.

When the coronavirus appeared, it became spectacularly clear how essential a fundamental understanding of the internet had really become for successful day-to-day living in 2020.

While all the grown-ups were working from home online, relying on the internet for entertainment, shopping, and paying bills, all the kids were at home studying, gaming, watching Netflix and socialising online as well.

When your kids are such prolific internet users for schooling, entertainment and socialising, no doubt, you’d rather not just rely on what they’re telling you is safe and needed to support their online lives.

The problem many of us face is that the kids have all grown up with the internet.

A lot of them can even code. The rest of us, however, can still be found scratching our heads and wondering how we do some of the most basic things online, and/or how we do them safely.

We certainly want to know that our kids are safe online. And we also don’t want them to talk us into getting bigger – and more expensive – internet plans than we really need just because we don’t fully understand the situation.

Mother online with kids

So how do we catch-up to the kids and their online skills?

The good news is that we can help solve this problem for you.

We have done the hard work, searched right across the internet and found 7 online internet basics courses we think could really help rural mums.

Some are free; some are not. Some are absolute beginner level; some are more of an intermediate level.

There’s bound to be at least one here that’s ideal for you.

Here’s those 7 online courses to brush up your basic internet knowledge


1. Internet Basics

Start here

For the past 20 years, GFCLearnFree.org has been helping people learn the skills they need to live and work in a world dominated by technology.

This is one of 200 topics they offer free lessons on and is a fantastic place to start.

Just be aware though, that while the course is free, it is delivered via YouTube which will cut into your data allowance. It won’t hurt too much though because across the seven included videos, none are over 4-minutes and combined, they’re less that 20-minutes in total.

What you’ll learn:
  • What is the internet?
  • What can you do online?
  • Connecting to the internet
  • Understanding the cloud
  • Using a web browser
  • Understanding hyperlinks
  • Downloading and uploading
  • Using search engines
  • Understanding URLs
  • How to set-up a Wi-Fi network
  • Choosing a web browser
2. Microsoft Digital Literacy – Computer Security and Privacy

The 3 – 4 hours you’d spend on this course will be well worth the peace-of-mind you’d have afterwards.

It’s also FREE if you’re okay with advertisements, otherwise it will set you back €7.99 for a one-month subscription.

In my humble opinion, that’s quite a small amount to pay to understand how to stay safe on the internet.

What you’ll learn:
  • Measures for protection from natural threats
  • Measures for protection against threats from human actions
  • Computer threats and measures for protection
  • Best practices for securing online and network transactions
  • Measures for securing e-mail and instant messaging
  • How to protect your family from security threats
  • Measures to protect your privacy
  • Guidelines for protection from online predators
  • How to keep your computer secure and updated
  • Understanding intellectual property
  • Copyright violation and prevention


3. Online Cyber Safety Courses for Parents


I feel like the offering from Internet Safe Education is a must-do for parents of children at any age. These courses are very affordable and purposely designed to address the cyber safety of four different age groups. They costed at just $38 each, or $108 for all four courses in a bundle.

These folks bare the badge of a trusted eSafety Provider from the Australian Government’s eSafety Commissioner and have been keeping people safe online since 2008. I’d say they’ve got this training nailed.

Courses by age-group are:

  • Online Cyber-Safety Courses for Parents (ages 4 – 8)
  • Online Cyber-Safety Courses for Parents (ages 9 – 11)
  • Online Cyber-Safety Courses for Parents (ages 12 – 14)
  • Online Cyber-Safety Courses for Parents (ages 15 – 19)
What you’ll learn:

Remove the mystery surrounding children and technology.

The suite of Online Cyber-Safety Courses for Parents will help caregivers feel confident about parenting in the digital age, and provide tools to help create a safe and balanced online experience for their family.

Mother concerned about daughter being cyber bullied
4. Introduction to Personal Computers and the Internet

This course is the perfect place to start if you don’t feel confident even working the computer.

You’ll come out of this feeling like you’ve discovered a whole new world, and in a way, you kinda will have.

The Council of Adult Education (CAE) – who have been running out of Victoria since 1947 – have put this course together to: “help you understand the basics of web-browsing, email, word processing, spreadsheets, social media, downloading photos and online shopping, all within a comfortable, nurturing environment with like-minded learners.”

At the time we published this article, CAE were calling for people to register their interest but had not released dates for this course to run. If it appeals to you, jump on their website and register.

What you’ll learn:
  • How to turn computer on, off or put to sleep without fearing the process
  • How to create safe passwords and why it matters
  • How to set up a Hotmail email account so you can access your emails and Microsoft cloud services from any location with internet access (including an explanation of Microsoft cloud!)
  • How to search for things on the internet using Google, Yahoo!, MSN
  • How to download photos from your devices and how to secure them locally and in the cloud
  • How to create letters and basic documents in Microsoft Word
  • How to create basic spreadsheets in Microsoft Excel
  • How to practically apply social media and where – including LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram
  • How to watch (stream) television in a browser – and what streaming is?
    Tips for online shopping – how to buy on eBay, Amazon and Gumtree – and what PayPal is
  • How to buy and sell your “junk” using eBay, Gumtree, Facebook Marketplace
5. Computer Science Principles: The internet
lynda.com (from LinkedIn)

This course is going to take you on a journey from when the internet was born, all the way through to making sure your private information remains protected in the modern world.

When you’ve finished this course, you should feel a lot more comfortable online. It is very basic, and you shouldn’t need much prior knowledge at all.

The man behind this course has a number of other related courses you might like to progress on to from here.

If you have a Premium LinkedIn account, courses on LinkedIn Learning (formerly Lynda.com) are included in your monthly package for $29.99 per month.

If you don’t have a Premium LinkedIn account (which seems likely if you’re reading this article) you can get a 1-month free trial which should be more than enough time to get through this course given there’s only about 1-hour of content there.

What you’ll learn:
  • How the Internet was born
  • Sending and receiving information on a computer
  • IP addressing
  • DNS, routers, and packets
  • Identifying web servers with URLs
  • HTTP and HTML
  • Encrypting data that’s sent over the Internet
Become a pro at internet jargon
6. Internet Fundamentals 101

This course will put you back in charge of the internet conversation with the kids. It is straightforward and plainly lays out the basics of the internet.

Internet Fundamentals 101 has two price points depending on whether or not you want a certificate to show the kids you really do understand them when they try to use jargon to get what they want from you online.

Without a certificate the course is $50 USD. With a certificate, its $75 USD. It’s entirely up to you of course but I probably wouldn’t bother with the certificate.

What you’ll learn:
  • How the internet works
  • The connections that need to be made in order to access the internet
  • How to navigate the web and find information
  • All about blogs, social networks and online email services
  • All about copyrights, trademarks and plagiarism
  • Ethics and netiquette
  • How to avoid predators, scams and hoaxes
7. How the Internet Works and the Web Development Process

This course is more sophisticated than most of the aforementioned, but it still only calls for basic computer skills as a pre-requisite.

It’s going to give you a greater grasp of internet jargon than any of the beginner-level courses and so should probably be a second step in your ‘basics of internet knowledge’ growth plan.

If you’re already reasonably well versed in the world wide web, perhaps this course could help you master your rural internet connection in order to kick-start that entrepreneurial idea you’ve had lingering in the back of your mind. It will certainly help you prep for getting a small business website up and running.

How the Internet Works and the Web Development Process is brought to you by udemy.com for $89.99.

What you’ll learn:
  • How the Internet Facilities the movement of Data Packets
  • The Difference between Local and Wide Area Networks (LAN, WAN)
  • The Basics of the HTTP and HTTPS Protocols
  • How DNS Lookups Work
  • How Email Exchange works using SMTP and IMAP
  • How Network Ports and Firewalls Work
  • The difference between Hardware and Software Firewalls
  • An Overview of the Web Development Process
  • How to Plan the Development of a Small Website

Online internet basics courses at a glance


Internet BasicsGFCLearnFree.orgBeginnerFREE
Microsoft Digital Literacy - Computer Security and PrivacyAlison.comBeginnerFREE with advertisements

€7.99 without advertisements
Online Cyber Safety Courses for Parents

• Online Cyber-Safety Courses for Parents (ages 4 – 8)
• Online Cyber-Safety Courses for Parents (ages 9 – 11)
• Online Cyber-Safety Courses for Parents (ages 12 – 14)
• Online Cyber-Safety Courses for Parents (ages 15 – 19)

Internet Safe EducationBeginner$38 AU each

$108 AU to get all 4 courses bundled
Introduction to Personal Computers and the InternetCouncil of Adult Education (CAE)BeginnerN/A
Computer Science Principles: The InternetLinkedIn Learning (formerly Lynda.com)Beginner$29.99 AU monthly subscription to LinkedIn Premium
Internet Fundamentals 101Universal ClassBeginnerNo certificate – $50 USD

With certificate – $75 USD
How the Internet Works and the Web Development ProcessUdemy.comIntermediateN/A

Mother and son on computers together

Well there you have it! One or more of those courses ought to put you back in the driver’s seat when it comes to chatting about – and acting on – your family’s internet needs and safety.

If you’ve come across any other great internet basics courses online that might suit rural parents, why don’t you pop on over to our Facebook page and let us know.

Don’t already have a rural nbn™ internet connection? Check your address to find out what connection type you can get at your home.

check address


*source: https://www.statista.com/topics/5261/internet-usage-in-australia/ 

NOTE: This article in no way constitutes official endorsement of these courses by SkyMesh Pty Ltd.

Louise Hughes
Written by Louise Hughes

Louise has had a life-long love affair with beautiful words; writing because it drives her, and reading because it feeds her soul. She's the luckiest woman alive to be able to create clever content and intelligent customer experiences for a living.

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