What is it?
Peer-to-peer (P2P) refers to a computer network (via the internet) where files are shared so that each computer acts as a server for the others, without using a central server or a local area network (LAN).
How does it work?
P2P works by using a process that interconnects computers that might be located anywhere in the world, breaking the file (data) into small sections, and then each computer downloading the same file assists the other computer to take the same data.
Why is it useful?
P2P networks are usually created for file sharing large files. BitTorrent is a well-known P2P file sharing program.
What do you need to keep in mind about your child using peer-to-peer networks?
Peer-to-peer networks are a very handy way to download large files, however not all P2P networks are appropriate for children and not all file sharing is legal. It is a good idea to discuss with your child that P2P and file sharing can mean stealing or accessing offensive material. If they have any questions about whether the material is legal or not, it is best to ask an adult to check. Also see BitTorrent for more information about peer-to-peer internet activity and warnings about the risks of high data bills.