Should you use Internet cafes?

Andrea Borman

Honorable Member
I was on holiday in Liverpool and Manchester and decided to leave my laptop, a Netbook at home and just use the Internet cafes. Some thing which I now regret. As I have found that the computers in the Internet cafes are very very slow,the software is out of date and the computers are poorly maintained.

Well,I was in an Internet cafe in Liverpool and I downloaded Safefox web browser because they only had Internet Explorer on the computer. But to my surprise the manager of the Internet cafe came over to me and told me off for Installing Safefox. He said," could you not install any software on the computers we do not want you to break them."

He obviously had seen me install Safefox from the master computer he had at his desk on the till. As when they put you on a computer in an Internet cafe they record your time,how long you are on and charge you accordingly. And they also record everything you do on the computer. So they know every site you visit,and every blog or forum post you make.

I told him that I was only installing Safefox and that it was a Firefox browser and that I have it on my computer at home. And wanted to use it there at the Internet cafe.But he told me that they do not allow anyone to install anything on their computers, not even web browsers. And that I had to use the web browsers and chat messengers that was on there.

And so I could not install Aim Messenger or Google Talk because the staff would not let me. And I was very upset because I wanted to talk to my friends on Aim and Google Talk but could not. Because they only had Skype and Yahoo messenger on the computers, which I do not know how to use. Also me and my friends do not have a Skype account. So I could not call my friends on voice or video chat,because the Internet cafe staff would not let me install Aim or Google Talk.

But this is not the first time I have had problems with internet cafes. Before I got my Netbook my first computer a year ago in April 2010.I was using Internet cafes to write my blog posts and record You Tube videos.

One experience I had was about 3 years ago in the days before I got my own computer. When I went into an Internet cafe I had used before to write my blog posts. I have got websites about Hezbollah,Lebanon and current affairs and I wrote some of my posts from this Internet cafe. But one day when I went back in there the shopkeeper told me that the computers are not working,there was no Internet connection. But I saw other people using the computers and there were others that were free. And so it was obvious that it was because of my websites which he saw me writing,was the reason the shop keeper did not want to let me back in the Internet cafe.Remember they record everything you do in an Internet cafe.

Another example was once,the person sitting next to me in another Internet cafe was rude to me. And upset me and disturbed my concentration and I could not work properly. They let me move to another computer, but I was still upse,t so I could not write my blog posts because that incident(the person who was rude to me) was on my mind the whole time.

The internet cafe owners treat us adults like children. They deny us open time. They watch and record everything you do on the computer and they have stupid rules. One internet cafe I went to had a big sign on the door and above all of the computers,warning that" anyone found visiting sites we do not approve of will be instantly barred from the shop." So you could be on a website as innocent as My Space, but if the owner does not like it,he can throw you out and stop you coming back in the Internet cafe. And there is nothing you can do about it. And notices like that put you off from the start, and make you nervous about doing anything in the Internet cafe.

It is possible to blog and record videos in an Internet cafe but difficult.Some cafes let you have open time,where they put you on a computer and they don't turn it off until you have finished. And then charge you for how long you was on. Others won't let you have open time. And this is a problem because you can be in the middle of doing some thing. And then your time runs out. And by the time you have got to the till to ask for more time they have turned off the computer and all your work is gone.

And recording You Tube videos in an Internet cafe is also a problem. You have to speak so quietly into the mic because you are worried about who is listening and that you might upset the people sitting next to you,and in the cafe, and the shop keeper. So you cannot make good sound videos.

All of these reasons is why I got my own computer. And my advice to anyone who blogs or makes videos from an Internet cafe is-you need to get your own computer, now. And they are not expensive. Netbooks are now very cheap and so is a broadband contract. So there is no excuse not to get your own computer.

And it is true to say that if you do not have your own computer and just use Internet cafes.You are not your own boss.

I have gone back to Manchester again for another holiday. But THIS TIME,I have taken my Netbok with me from home. And I have got a broadband USB stick.Pay as you go broadband. And in addition to that, I also have the public wifi in the hotel I am staying in, to connect to the Internet on my Netbook. So this time,my trip will not include a visit to the Internet cafe. Andrea Borman.


Extraordinary Member
I don't use Internet Cafes anyway, not as far as using my notebook inside of the premises. But I have used public "hotspots" that were hosted by coffee shops, McDonald's & Panera Bread, in addition to the public library, from either sitting outdoors or in my car. There were a couple of times that I needed a code, but all one has to do is pull a receipt out of the trash can at Panera Bread, the code is there.

And I've had no problems, I've downloaded to my heart's content, installed all kinds of apps, and have never been blocked from doing whatever I want. I do use a tight firewall when using these sites, though. As well as a do a full computer scan when I get back home.

Andrea Borman

Honorable Member
Not all Internet cafes are as strict as the one I went to in Liverpool that said I could not download Safefox. Some of them don't mind if you install a web browser as long as you don't change the actual computer settings in control panel. But then those settings are blocked anyway. And you cannot access control panel on the Internet cafe computers anyway.

If you are using your own laptop or Netbook inside an Internet cafe. That is different, as it is your own computer and all you are using is their broadband connection to connect to the Internet. So of course, then you can install software, because it is your laptop.

But if you are using their computers in the Internet cafe. It is different, as then you are using some one else's computer not your own.

I have not come across any Internet cafes that have wifi access if you bring your own laptop. As the ones I have been in, you go in and tell the man at the desk how much time you want. And he puts you one one of the shops computers. But there is one internet cafe up here in Manchester that has wifi access,if you bring your own laptop. But it is £5 per day which is not cheap if you take your laptop in there every day to use it. They also have their own computers that most people use. And their system is more free, as you choose the computer you want to go on and log in yourself with the ticket they give you. And you can just log out and go on another computer,if you want to without asking the staff first.

And the staff do not care what you do on the computer. As if you install something, such as Firefox,it gets erased when you log off of the computer.After it shuts down.

But the down side is that it is £2 pound per hour and they don't do open time. Because it is a pre paid system where you must log in with a ticket with a pin number to open the computer. But you can add more time to your ticket by asking at the desk. And the staff will top up your credit. And if you ask for say three hours,they will give you that or more time anyway. But at £2 pound per hour it is not cheap. And if you go four times a week and spend say three hours each day on the computer, that's £18 pound a week. Or in my case, more, as I spend a lot of time on the computer. And also if one computer is not working and you log out,it takes 15 minutes of your credit away each time you log out or change computers. So if for example,you go on the computer, and you only spend half an hour of your 1 hour on there. Then log out, then next time you go back on the computer,you have only got 15 minutes of credit left.

So you are better off just getting your own computer and bringing it with you when you go on away from home. Like I have now done. And I am using my Netbook in my hotel room and am connected to the Internet with the public wifi. That the hotel has here. Which is free to all who are staying here. And it is just like being on my home wireless broadband at home.

But you must remember to turn off Network discovery and file and printer sharing both on Windows XP and Windows 7. And on Windows 7,if you set your laptop to public Network like I have done. It will do this for you anyway. Andrea Borman.

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