Everything you find online is some form of information. And this information can allow us to do many things. Your personal details, for example, can help you open a bank account or prove who you are.

This lesson will help you use the internet to find out information. It will also show you how to find movies, music, photos and more. So the next time you want to know something, you can confidently go online and find what you need.


  • Search online with ease
  • Know which online search terms are more effective
  • Find entertaining content like images, movies, music online

Read time:

10 mins

Chapter 1

Finding information online

Read time:

7 mins

How the internet can help you find information

The internet (also known as ‘the web’) connects devices across the world. It can come through wires or operate wirelessly over shorter distances. 

As well as connecting with friends and family, you can use the web to find a whole world of information. In fact, the internet is home to most of the information you’ll ever need to know. 

To connect to the web, you use something known as a ‘web browser’. In the next sections, we’ll explain what this is and how to pick the right one for you.


What’s a browser? 

To use the internet, you access it through a browser. Browsers work like a window to the internet. You can use them to connect to different websites where information is held. To go to a particular website, you need to enter something called a ‘web address’ which, much like a normal address, tells the browser where you want to go online. 

You can also search for information without knowing the address of the site you’re looking for. For example, you might want to find the website of a shop that sells rucksacks, but you don’t the web address or the name of the store. Here you would enter the word ‘rucksacks’ into something called a ‘search engine’.  

We’ll explain more about search engines shortly, but first, let’s look at some of the most popular browsers.   


Popular browsers: 

  • Google Chrome  – This is the most popular browser and you can use it on any type of device 
  • Safari – Also popular, but you can only use this one with an Apple device, like iPhones and MacBooks 
  • Microsoft Edge – This replaces their original browser, Internet Explorer 
  • Firefox – Made by the not-for-profit Mozilla, it’s another one to consider 


Before you select your browser 

Do read about each company and make your choice based on what’s best for your needs. Just because something is popular, it doesn’t mean it’s right for you. 


These are the most popular browsers worldwide:

What’s a search engine?

Unlike browsers, you don’t need to download search engines. They are websites that you access through a browser. As we said earlier, you can use a ‘search engine’ to look for something without knowing the address. These do the hard work for you. They search through all the information available online and display what it thinks you need. 

Search engines show you the best results based on the words you entered. We call these words ‘search terms’. The more specific the term, the better the results. We’ll show you how to create better searches later. First, let’s look at some of the most popular search engines you can use.


Popular search engines in the UK

There are plenty of search engines out there, and you don’t have to use just one. You can use different engines for different things, and it really is a personal choice.

There are also search engines that might not be as popular but have other advantages. Like Ecosia, which plants trees based on the number of searches. 


Creating better searches

In our example earlier, we explained how you can find results on the internet by entering search terms like ‘rucksack’. Here are some tips for finding better results:

  • Use multiple words – Instead of ‘rucksacks’, try ‘waterproof rucksacks’ or ‘blue rucksacks’  
  • Use a ‘-’  –  If you don’t want to see certain things, like a specific brand, put ‘-’ in front of the term. For example, you could type ‘rucksack -Smiths’  
  • Use quote marks – If you want to see results for an exact term or phrase you’ve entered, put your search terms in quote marks. For example, you might write ‘Cafés “York”’ so your results only show cafés in York


The results of your searches can be very broad, so using these tips can help narrow them down. There’s also lots of different ways you can see the information online.


Types of information include: 

  • Articles 
  • Blogs 
  • News 
  • Videos 
  • Forums 
  • Images 
  • Maps 
  • Tutorials 
  • Frequently asked questions (FAQs) 
  • Media 
  • Games 
  • Books 
  • Music 


Learning online

With so much information available online, the internet is a really good place to learn (like you are now!).  There are lots of different ways to learn too, like by watching videos, listening or reading. You can also learn from the comfort of your home. 

You might already know lots of ways of access information, but here are some that might be new to you.


Using chat functions

These are now on lots of websites. Especially sites where you can buy goods and services, as they let you speak with the company quickly and easily. You can ask questions and resolve issues quicker than you might be able to through a phone call or email. 

If a website has a chat function, it usually appears at the bottom left or right of the screen, but it can be anywhere on the site. Find it by looking for the word ‘chat’, or phrases like ‘chat with us’. If you select this, you’ll likely see a chat box appear where you can type and receive messages. This chat is private. Only you and the person you are chatting to can see it.

Some websites use chat as an easy way for you to get help

Using FAQs

Sometimes you can find the answer to your questions without having to speak to anyone. Companies often keep track of questions they get asked a lot by customers. They then use them to make a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) which they display on their website.

Here’s an example. Say you want to know what the usual delivery times are for a shop. There may be a list of FAQs on their site with the question ‘What are your delivery times?’. Next to it will be the answer, for instance ‘Our typical delivery times are 3-5 days’. This saves you and the company time and effort.


Using forums and tutorials

If your question is more difficult to answer, tutorials and forums might be a better place to look.

Tutorials can take many forms. They usually explain something using either words or videos. Tutorials will usually take you through a process step-by-step, like how to set up a phone.

Forums are slightly different. You can still use them to learn, but instead of hearing from a company or an expert, you’re speaking to a group of people. This is useful if you want to hear lots of different opinions on a specific topic, such as places to eat in London, cycling tips, but it can also mean the information isn’t completely correct. So you need to decide which opinions you trust.


Here's an example:

  • You might join a parenting forum  
  • On the forum, you hear from lots of other parents about some of the ways they look after their children  
  • Some comments you may find helpful. Others you might ignore

Forums are good to gain a sense of community, and connect with people who have similar experiences. This doesn’t mean all the tips and experiences will work for you.

Test your knowledge

Answer this question by selecting one answer from the three options provided.

That's not quite right!

Hint: You use this when you quote what someone has said.

That's right!

You can put search terms in quotations to see the results for the exact terms or phrase you’ve entered.

Chapter 2

Accessing entertaining content

Read time:

3 mins

Entertaining content

You can find lots of entertainment online – films, music, books, games. Most of the things you love offline will be available in some form on the web.

Let's look at some of the most popular ways you can access the content you love online.


Types of content and how to access them

Images and pictures


When you search on a search engine, you can usually press a button to make sure the results you see are just images. You can find this button at the top of the page, in the main menu.

Say you want an image of a dog. When you enter ‘dog’ into the search bar, you can select to see only images. This will stop you seeing other kinds of content, like articles about dogs, options to buy dogs etc. You can also use sites like Pinterest or stock image sites to find images.



The main place you can watch videos for free online is YouTube. Many social media sites let you share and view videos, too. You can also use sites like Vimeo, which is like YouTube.



If you like watching movies, there are lots of trustworthy sites you can use to watch your favourite films. Some are free to use, but you have to purchase or rent the movies for a fee. Others charge a monthly subscription fee, but then are free to use. Some do a combination of the two.


Popular paid streaming sites include:

  • Netflix
  • Amazon Prime
  • Disney+



Much like movies, you can watch your favourite TV shows online. The sites we listed for movies offer TV shows too. Other popular UK services include BBC iPlayer (free), ITV Player (free) and Now TV (paid).

When you're watching TV offline, you might switch between channels because they offer different shows. The same is true for these online services. Each site offers a different selection of films and TV shows, so you should pick the ones that best suit you.



If you enjoy playing games, alone or with friends and family, there’s a whole world of online gaming for you. You can get games through your device’s app (application) store such as Apple’s App Store or Google Play. Here you can find free and paid for games. These types of games are often free because they show you advertisements. This is how the company makes money to create games.



You can read books on your main devices. You can also buy an e-reader, which is a device you use just for reading books online. There are a few main places you can go to for online books, including Amazon’s Kindle store. There are also services like Audible, which allow you to pay a monthly fee to access a library of audio books.



The ways you can pay for or access music for free online are like films and TV. You can either pay for a single song or album, or pay for a regular subscription. Music subscriptions offer more than film and TV subscriptions do. This means you can get all the music you could want from one provider.

Picking the right service for you depends on which one you like most and how much you’re willing to pay for it.


Popular music streaming services include:

  • Spotify
  • Apple Music
  • Amazon Music
  • Deezer

You can compare their advantages and disadvantages here.


Lesson complete!

Well done on completing this lesson. You should now know how to search for what you need online. We suggest you continue your learning with the next lesson, ‘Saving and accessing documents’. This lesson will give you an understanding of how to manage your files and folders. It will also show you how you can store and access your files online.


Up next for you:

Next lesson: Saving and accessing documents
Back to: Get started online


Bank of Scotland Academy is committed to providing information in a way that is accessible and useful for our users. This information, however, is not in any way intended to amount to authority or advice on which reliance should be placed. You should seek professional advice as appropriate and required. Any sites, products or services named in this module are just examples of what's available. Bank of Scotland does not endorse the services they provide. The information in this module was last updated on 8th November 2023.