The "noughties" refers to the first decade of the 21st century, i.e., the 2000s, or more specifically the years 2000 to 2009. This time period is also sometimes called the "aughts," "aughties," "oughties," or "ohs." These terms all refer to the placement of the zero in the first decade of the century. During the noughties, there were several important changes in the way people live and communicate all over the world.
The year 2000 marked the beginning of the noughties and a new decade. It was also the start of a new century, the 21st century, a term which had been used previously to evoke visions of the future. In addition it marked a new millennium, the 3rd millennium, an event that only occurs every thousand years.
The years that followed, from the year 2000 to 2009, saw global cultural change, but the time period has also been difficult for historians to name. Previous decades were simply referred to by the last two digits in the year; for example, the 1990s were called the nineties. Many agreed that "the zeros" didn't sound right, but there was not a true consensus on what to call the new decade. There are several names offered such as "the 00s" or "the 2000s decade," and a variety of names that use other terms for zero, i.e., "naught" in "noughties."
One of the most striking changes that occurred during the noughties was the increasing dominance of the Internet. By the end of 2009, people had acquired easy access to computers or other Internet devices in the majority of developed countries around the globe. The Internet began being used for huge amounts of commerce such as shopping, advertising, and banking. It also brought instant access to worldwide news and information within easy reach of the average person. It has also become the preferred avenue for written communication and socialization through social networking websites like Facebook.
An array of social changes occurred during the noughties. In many developed countries, there was an increased recognition of human rights and tolerance of differences. Alternative lifestyle choices generally became more acceptable in some societies, and laws protecting the rights of different types of minority groups became more commonplace. There was also an increased level of awareness and vigilance regarding assorted threats to society, particularly terrorism in the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States.