DEAR ABBY: It seems that everyone is aware that there is a dark side to the Internet, but I would like to let you know about another side of it.
There are many ongoing charity projects on the Internet, like the Linus Project and the ABC Quilts, which provide quilts for children with AIDS.
After the Oklahoma City bombing and again after the recent California fires, the chat rooms and newsgroups were full of people offering various kinds of help. Quilts were made honoring the children who died in Oklahoma, and supplies were shipped to Californians who lost their homes.
A man called Magic Mike who has access to scraps from a fabric factory now sends those scraps to quilters across the country who craft for charities, for the price of the postage. He is not only reducing the size of landfills (where the scraps would otherwise go), but he is also providing very low-cost supplies to charities that need them.
There are whole communities of people on the Internet who have never met face-to-face or spoken on the telephone, but are ready, willing and able to act whenever a call for help is transmitted.
The Internet has more caring people than it has the bad seeds we read about in the paper. It's time to turn the spotlight away from the few who are giving it a bad name and shine it on those who are quietly making this a better world through their use of this Information Age tool. -- LESA FARMER, KANSAS CITY, KAN.
DEAR LESA: Your letter is very timely, and I am pleased to help highlight the good side of the Internet.
The Internet provides millions of people with access to the information superhighway, an electronic assortment of resources, information and communication. Today's computers make navigating the Internet so easy that almost anyone can do it, and the cost is becoming more reasonable every day.
People communicate with one another through newsgroups, mailing lists, e-mail and chat areas, where they can ask for and receive information, share experiences, and access worldwide resources on virtually any topic.