This paper examines the use of the internet by a sample of 40,000 students from a group of demographically different schools in England. In analysing this usage a number of questions are asked about patterns of learning and lessons to be learned. Previous research and recent writings on this topic are examined and a theoretical framework is formed that eclectically draws on a number of sources, including postmodern authors. A methodology is used incorporating an analysis of system logs. It was found that learning using the internet often appears as being self-motivated with a strong sense of ownership both of content creation and social networking. It is often generated by a real purposeful need by the children themselves often with the assistance of their peers. Schools should be places where literacy in new media can be developed. The sample of schools in which usage was surveyed in the research represents a broad set of demographic profiles across England. Although the sample was restricted English children, responses from other countries may have shown a different set of responses.