internet safety glossary

The terminology used to talk about technology and the online world can be baffling at times. Especially when new technology and new words to describe it constantly emerge. Here’s an up-to-date glossary of some of the most important words to help you keep abreast of the latest internet-related language.

A

Address

Generally short for ‘web address’– where you find a particular web page or website on the internet, also known as a URL. May also be short for email address.

Adware

Computer programs that display adverts on the screen. Often installed without people realising.

Angry Birds

The Angry Birds app is a popular paid-for gaming app.

Antivirus software

A program that is used to detect, prevent, and remove viruses on your computer or mobile device or that are sent to you in an email, chat message or on a web page.

App

Short for application – this is a program or piece of software designed to fulfil a particular purpose and is usually downloaded by a user to a mobile device.

Ask.fm

A social networking site, based in Latvia, through which users can ask other users questions, with the option of anonymity. Ask.fm’s reputation as a platform for cyberbullying has been highlighted in the media, although a change of ownership has promised to stamp out this type of activity.

Attachment

A file that is sent along with an email message, social network post, IM, via Skype and various other programs. It can be any sort of file and pictures are often sent this way.

B

BBM

The BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) app allows users to share messages and images. It also has the option to make free calls anywhere around the world. It is only available to Blackberry users.

Beats Music

Beats Music offers a music service for users based on their listening habits. The full service requires a subscription.

Blacklist

A list of undesirable websites, user names or keywords that you have blocked access to so that searching the internet is safer.

Bloatware

Software with large, often unused additional features that demands an excessive amount of memory or disk space in proportion to the functionality it provides. Also used to refer to the pre-installed software that many equipment manufacturers install before shipping. These programs often load at startup, slowing down the computer’s performance.

Block

To stop a computer reaching something on the internet, to stop a program running, or to stop someone from contacting you on a chat service. Websites that are blocked can’t be viewed on screen; emails that are blocked will be automatically redirected into your junk mail; chat programs that are blocked can’t be started; people that are blocked cannot reach you online through that particular chatting service.

Blog

A personal website or web page on which an individual records opinions and links to other sites on a regular basis.

Bluetooth

A wireless way of exchanging data over short distances from fixed and mobile devices, including mobile phones and card payment machines.

Bookmarks

Web addresses stored in your browser, letting you go directly to specific websites/web pages. Also known as ‘favourites’.

Bot

A program that can do things without the user of the computer having to give it instructions. Many bots are malware as they are installed without people’s permission and can be controlled over the internet and used to send spam or steal data. Also known as web robots.

Broadband

A relatively fast – above 512 kbps – connection to the internet. Most broadband connections are ‘always on’ so that your computer is connected to the internet all the time it is turned on.

Browse

To explore the internet by going from one link to another.

Browser

A program that allows you to use the World Wide Web to view internet pages. Internet Explorer is the most commonly used browser but Firefox, Google Chrome, Opera and Safari are also used.

Burning

The act of copying information onto recordable media such as a CD, DVD or Blu-Ray disc.

C

Candy Crush Saga

This app is a popular tetris-style game in which the user can purchase more lives through in-app purchasing once they run out.

Chatroom

A place on the internet where you can chat to one or more people. A ‘virtual room’ where users can ‘talk’ with each other by typing. Conversations can be one-on-one or can involve a number of people. Some chat rooms are moderated/supervised.

Chatroulette

Chatroulette is a network of users where strangers can interact with other strangers over text-chat, webcam and microphone, choosing to ‘take part’ or ‘observe’. This is not suitable for children as a lot of users post sexual images and there could be a risk of grooming.

Chatting

Taking part in an online chat, either in a chat room or by instant messaging.

Click

To select something on your screen by moving your cursor over it and pressing your mouse button. Smartphones and consoles are capable of clicking links in a browser without a mouse.

Code

In computer science this is the text, written and used by programmers and developers, that dictates the actions to be performed by a computer. Also known as source code.

Community forums

Websites that allow members to contact each other, take part in chats or create personal web pages.

Computer network

A number of computers that are linked together so that they can exchange data. Local Area Networks (LANs) link computers in the same building, Wide Area Networks (WANs) like the internet connect computers that may be far apart.

Console

An electronic system that connects to a screen and is mainly used for playing video games. Can also come in a smaller handheld format that includes a screen.

Content filter

A way of limiting access to material on the internet by examining it before it is shown to the user and deciding whether or not it is acceptable. Often used to restrict access to certain web pages when children are using computers.

Cookie

A cookie is a small file that is sent to a web browser by a server and stored on the user’s computer. It can then be read by the server every time the user revisits the same website and is used to keep track of personal preferences, shopping choices and other information.

Creative commons

Creative Commons (CC) licences build upon copyright law, signalling the owner’s permission that work can be used in a variety of ways, not automatically allowed under copyright law. Creative Commons search engines can help people discover materials that they can freely and legally share or build upon. See http://creativecommons.org for further information.

Creeping

To follow someone’s social network profile closely: to an excessive degree. Can be known as ‘Facebook stalking’. It is not as sinister as it may sound, often creeping is done to catch up with friends, to reminisce about past posts or older content, or to find out more about a friend in whom a person has a romantic interest. This is not always solitary: it can be done by friends viewing and gossiping about another friend’s past posts or content.

Cursor

The arrow that appears on your computer screen and moves when you move your mouse or touch your trackpad.

Cyberbullying

Bullying behaviour which takes places through the use of electronic means, such as through e-mail, mobile phones or posts on a social network.

Cyberspace

A term for the internet, which is often viewed as the online, or virtual, world.

Cyberstalking

Stalking someone online. May involve harassment but the victim may be unaware that they are being stalked online.

D

Data

Data is information, stored on computers and other storage devices.

Dattch

Dattch aims to make it easier for lesbians to avoid feeling isolated and meet each other away from bars and clubs. Daatch claims it has the visual experience of the users based on a Pinterest ‘mood board’ to illustrate their personality via the things they like – such as music and food. The app also asks users to verify security by linking it to their Facebook page.

Decoy app

Decoy apps can be used to store private information, such as photos, videos, voice recordings, or text messages. They look like everyday apps such as a calculator so offer a secure way to hide certain information.

Down

Previously called ‘Bang with Friends’, Down is an app that allows users to find which of their Facebook friends are local and available to meet up.

Download websites

A website from which it is possible to obtain files such as music, videos, and images, sent directly to the user’s computer or mobile device.

Downloading

The transmission of a file from one computer system to another (often smaller) computer system. From the internet user’s point of view, to download a file is to request it from one computer, or from one web page to another computer, and to receive it.

E

E-commerce

Buying or selling over the internet, usually from a website.

Electronic signature

Symbols or other data in digital form attached to an electronically transmitted document to show the sender’s intent to sign the document.

Email

A way to exchange messages over the internet. Messages are written by one person and then sent to one or more people at their email address.

Email address

An email address tells your email program where to send messages. The first part of the address is the name of the person’s mailbox, where messages are stored. The second part, after the ‘@’ sign, is the name of the mailbox provider.

Emoji

This is a characterset of smileys that were used in Japan, but are fast spreading in use across the world.

F

Fabotage

A slang word, for ‘Facebook Sabotage’, used to describe hijacking, and meddling with, someone’s Facebook account while it is unattended.

Facebook

A social networking website that lets users create their own profiles, share status updates, pictures, videos and chat with other users.

Facebook Messenger

The Facebook Messenger app is a messenger app that works through the inbox functionality in Facebook.

Family agreement

An agreement on how internet access and internet-enabled devices will be used. Should be drawn up and agreed after discussion between family members. This is sometimes referred to as an ‘Online Safety Contract’.

Favourites

Web addresses stored in your browser, letting you go directly to specific websites/web pages. Also known as ‘bookmarks’.

File

Some data stored on a computer. A file may contain any sort of digital content – a document, a picture, some music or a film.

File-sharing

Copying files over the internet by using software that enables you to use other subscribers’ computers like a specialist library. Usually the files contain music, films or programs, but any sort of file can be shared. May also be known as downloading.

Filter

A means of preventing certain types of material, keywords or anything you decide to block from reaching your computer.

Firewall

A firewall is a software program or piece of hardware that helps screen out hackers, viruses, and worms that try to reach your computer over the Internet.

Flaming

Sending an offensive or aggressive message to a specific person over the internet.

Forums

An online discussion group, much like a chat room.

Foursquare

A location-based social networking site for mobile devices, which enables users to find out where their friends are. Locations can be posted publicly which could be risky for children as it allows other users to see where they are.

G

Games console

An electronic system that connects to a screen and is mainly used for playing video games. Can also come in a smaller handheld format that includes a screen. Some can also be used for accessing the internet.

Gaming

The activity of playing video games.

Google Galaxy Chat and Play

Whilst its main function is social networking, the Google Galaxy Chat and Play app offers a virtual world that might be appealing to children due to its level of cartoon-like customisation. Not only are users able to create their own avatar which includes the option to change their aura, costume and even teleport, they are also able to customise their own chatroom, microblog, share photos and play online games.

Google Voice Search

Free text messages, international calls and the ability to search online by asking your phone a question – this is similar to iPhone’s Siri feature.

Google+

A social networking site that lets users exchange files and information.

Griefing

Griefing is when a player in an online game deliberately irritates and harasses other players within the game.

Grindr

Aimed at bisexual and gay men, this dating app uses location and photos to encourage ‘like-minded’ meetings between strangers wishing to date new people. Features include being able to search by ‘Tribe’ to find the type of man you wish to meet. As it’s location based, Grindr introduces users to ‘matches’ within the closest radius.

Grooming

When a stranger tries to start a relationship with a child for unlawful purposes; this can happen online or offline. Also see online grooming.

H

Hacker

Hackers are people who gain unauthorised access to data, remotely, using a computer or mobile device.

Hardware

The machinery, wiring, and other physical components of a computer system.

Hashtag

A hashtag is a word or an unspaced phrase prefixed with the hash symbol #. It is used on social networking sites like Twitter to tag and group messages from different people about a common topic.

History

Your internet browser toolbar will have a button marked ‘history’. If you click on it you can review which sites have been viewed.

Homepage

The page that appears when you type in an organisation’s full web address without any file name, for example, www.internetmatters.org. Also used to mean someone’s personal web page.

I

Icon

A small picture used to represent an action or a file on a computer screen.

IM (Instant Messenger)

Technology similar to that of chatrooms, which notifies a user when a friend is online, allowing them to converse by exchanging text messages. It’s like texting, but online.The difference between IM and chatrooms is that IM requires you to set up a list of contacts before you can chat.

In-app purchasing

In-app purchasing allows the user to buy virtual ‘extras’ related to an app when they are using the app. In-app purchases are common with games that are advertised as ‘free to download’, but often purchases of virtual gaming ‘currency’ are required to progress in the game.

Incognito browsing

Incognito browsing is a mode in Google Chrome which allows you to browse without creating a browsing and download history. It also prevents cookies being stored. It is only recommended that children use this on public computers or on any computer they use away from home.

Instagram

A photo-sharing social network which allows users to alter photos, upload them to Instagram and share them to other social networking sites. Photos can be sent directly to specific users. A video feature is also available.

Internet

A global computer network providing a variety of information and communication facilities.

Internet Service Provider (ISP)

A company that connects computers to the internet for a fee. Abbreviated to ISP.

Internet-enabled device

Any device that allows you to connect to the internet. Examples are: computers, laptops, mobile phones, smartphones, tablets, smart TVs and games consoles.

IP (Internet Protocol) address

An IP (Internet Protocol) address as a unique string of numbers separated by full stops that identifies each computer over a network.

IRC

Short for Internet Relay Chat. An old but still widely used way of having online chats with several people at the same time.

iTunes Store

Apple’s e-commerce site. The iTunes store has songs, movies, music videos and apps that can be purchased and downloaded to an Apple device or (with the exception of apps) be played on a PC using iTunes.

K

Kbps

Kilobits per second. A way of measuring the speed of a network by counting the number of bits sent each second. A kilobit is a thousand bits.

Keek

A ‘Keek’ is a short video of up to 36 seconds accompanied by a small amount of text of up to 111 characters. Users respond to keeks with their own keek – a process known as a ‘Keekback’. The interactions can occur in a public or private view.

Kik

Kik is a messenger app with a built-in browser. It allows users to talk, browse and share any website with friends without leaving the app. In addition to instant messaging, Kik users exchange videos, stickers and sketches. Unlike some messaging apps, Kik doesn’t use telephone numbers, only user names.

Kuddle

Kuddle is a photo editing and sharing app that combines social media with ‘netiquette’ and educational information about online behaviour and risks.

L

Laptop

A laptop is a small computer that you can carry around with you and that runs off batteries. It has a screen and a keyboard built in.

Link

Short for ‘hyperlink’, clicking on it will take you to a pre-defined location, such as another web page, or cause a document to open in your browser. Links are often shown as bold, underlined or coloured text.

Log off

To disconnect from a computer, network or online service.

Log on

Identify yourself to a computer, network or online service, usually using a user name and password.

Login

A login is a name you use to tell a computer or a website who you are.

M

Malware

Short for ‘malicious software’. Programs that damage your computer (viruses), steal your personal information (spyware), display unwanted adverts (adware) or expose your computer to hackers (Trojan horses).

Mbps

Megabits per second. A way of measuring the speed of a network by counting the number of bits sent each second. A megabit is a million bits.

MeowChat

Dubbed pen pal for the internet generation, the MeowChat app’s distinctive look includes cartoon cats and allows users to send texts, images or audio clips. Chatrooms can contain bad language and invitations to private chats with strangers.

Messenger

Microsoft Messenger was retired in 2013, and has now moved to Skype.

Minimise

The minimise button allows the user to shrink their current window in order to view their desktop or access another program.

Mixcloud

Mixcloud is similar to Soundcloud and allows users to upload and download soundfiles.

MMS

Multimedia messages, most commonly picture messages and video you can send and receive with a mobile handset.

Moderated chatroom

A chatroom or other service where an adult is watching the conversations to make sure they do not break the hosting company’s policy on online behaviour. This may include inappropriate language, the disclosure of personal information or behaviour which is considered dangerous. Some chatrooms do not have a person watching all the time, but rely on a program that monitors all of the chats and alerts a moderator when particular words appear.

Moderator

The role of the moderator is to ensure that all comments adhere to the explicit conditions of use and it is their responsibility to remove comments that breach these rules. For example, a moderator in a chatroom will ensure that any comments posted adhere to the rules of that chatroom.

Mouse

A small device connected to a computer that is used to control the position of a cursor on screen and has one or more buttons that can be used to make selections or carry out actions like clicking. They can be connected to a device via a cable or wirelessly.

N

Navigation

These are the buttons on a web page that enable you to move around a site. A site’s quality can often be ascertained by how easy it is to navigate.

Net

Abbreviation of ‘internet’.

Network

A number of computers that are linked together so that they can exchange data. Local area networks (LANs) link computers in the same building, wide area networks (WANs) like the internet connect computers that may be far apart. Also known as a computer network.

O

Offline

Not online. Not connected to the internet. Modern usage can see ‘offline’ used in the context of real life: if you meet someone offline you are meeting in the real world.

Omegle

Omegle is a free online chat website that allows users to communicate with strangers at random without registering.

Online

If you are online you are connected to the internet and can share data with other computers.

Online grooming

Some people use the internet to exploit young people for sex, visiting social networks, games and chatrooms as a way of getting close to children so that they can exploit them or even blackmail them for sexual purposes. Befriending a child in this way is called grooming.

Operating system

The main program that controls the operation of a computer and lets the user call other programs and gain access to files and other data. The three most common operating systems are Microsoft Windows, Apple’s Mac OS and Linux.

Osper

A mobile banking app for the family to teach children how to spend money sensibly. Parents can transfer additional money instantly if a child urgently requires it. It also includes a pre-paid debit card for the child.

P

Parent control software

Parental control software can restrict access to particular programs (such as games aimed at adults) or limit access so that the computer can only be used for a certain number of hours or between certain times. It can also monitor activity or filter out certain types of content (e.g. sites of a pornographic nature).

Password

A word or series of letters, numbers and characters that only you know, which you use to log on to computers, networks or online services.

PDF

PDF is a file format that preserves most attributes (including colour, formatting, graphics, and more) of a source document no matter which application, platform, and hardware type was originally used to create it. PDFs are often opened with Adobe Acrobat, although there are other PDF readers available.

Peer to Peer

Software (often free) which allows you to download files directly from a single computer anywhere in the world that also has the same software installed. Sometimes known as P2P, this is a commonly used, but usually illegal, way of accessing music, software and movies.

Permissions

The settings you change to allow or deny a service to access your data as part of its function. For example, apps on a smartphone might need you to enable them to access your location so that they can tailor content to the user.

Pharming

Pronounced ‘farming’, this is a method by which scammers try to get personal/private information from users by directing them to false – or ‘spoof’ – websites which look legitimate in your browser.

Phishing

Pronounced ‘fishing’, this is an attempt to trick people into visiting malicious websites by sending emails or other messages which pretend to come from banks or online shops. The emails have links in them which take people to fake sites set up to look like the real thing, where passwords and account details can be stolen.

Picture messaging

Nearly all mobile phones are fitted with digital still or video cameras. You can take pictures with these and send them via the mobile networks to other mobile devices with the same technology or to email addresses via the Internet.

Podcast

An ongoing series or episodes of a particular programme that can be downloaded automatically or manually. These are usually mp3 audio files or video podcasts.

Poof

Poof is an app that hides other apps instantaneously. All that’s needed is to open the app and to select which apps should be hidden and Poof will make those other apps disappear.

PopJam

Described as a ‘creative community for kids aged 7-12’, this app aims to build a digital community where children can share art, stories, games, photos and contests that they’ve created with other like-minded children. Working in a similar way to Instagram, children can follow friends, other PopJam accounts and their favourite band, artist, or author.

Post/Posting

To add a contribution to a forum/chat room/blog/web page.

Profile

Social Networking sites and some chat rooms let users complete a personal profile which others can see. Children and teenagers should never include in a profile any information that could identify them, or disclose where they are.

Program

A program – spelled the American way – is a collection of instructions to a computer that get it to do something useful, like show a picture or display a web page or change a document. Every time you want to do something on a computer you need to use one or more programs.

R

RSS feed

RSS (Rich Site Summary) is a format for delivering regularly changing content, such as news updates. Many news and sport related sites, such as the BBC, syndicate their content as an RSS feed to whoever wants to access it. It allows you to easily stay informed by retrieving the latest content from the sites you are interested in without the need to visit each site individually. To receive RSS feeds you’ll need to use a feed reader. There are a number of web-based feed readers available such as My Yahoo and Google Reader.

S

Screensaver

This is an image shown on computers, phones and other devices when they are switched on, but not in current use. Their purpose is to save power and prevent screen burn in older monitors.

Search engine

A website, such as Google, that lets you search for other websites by typing in the words that define the content you are looking for. Filters can be applied to limit search results to approved content, and there are some search engines specifically designed for children. See our Parental Controls and Pornography pages for more information.

Secret

An anonymous messaging app, users are encouraged to share their secrets that are divided into categories ranging from ‘popular’, ‘funny’, ‘dating’ and ‘food’ to trending topics that are often current affairs and latest news items. Posts can be liked but the user generated comments on posts appear to be unregulated and the anonymous nature could encourage people to post nasty comments.

Security updates

New versions of programs to fix problems that have been found. Often sent out automatically, it is important that security updates are installed as soon as they are released as hackers and malware often try to make use of the errors that are to be fixed.

Selfie

Short for ‘self portrait’, selfies are photographs of the photographer, often taken at arm’s length.

Send This Instead

The Send This Instead app has been developed to help children combat sexting from peers. The app gives a range of optional images with humorous messages so that children can send these as a response to sexting, putting them back in control.

Server

A program that manages a website and sends web pages to people’s browsers when they ask for them. Also known as a Web Server.

Sexting

The term ‘sexting’ is used to describe the sending and receiving of sexually explicit photos, messages or video clips. They may be sent to and from mobiles, via instant messages or email, or posted online on social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Snapchat and YouTube and others such as WhatsApp, Instagram and BBM.

Site

Short for website. A site is a collection of web pages. Websites perform different functions e.g. news sites, educational sites, games sites.

Skin

Slang term for a site template. The skin of a blog, website or profile is the design element that determines how web pages look. Many social networking sites offer users a wide variety of skins allowing members to customise their spaces to better reflect their interests. You can apply skins to mobile phones, gaming consoles and other devices that use software. Also commonly called a theme in mobile phones.

Skype

Skype is a program which allows you to transmit voice calls over an internet connection. It also has a chat function and allows the direct transmission of files from one user to another. It uses Voice over IP (VOIP) technology.

Smartphone

A mobile phone that can perform many of the functions of a computer including browsing the internet, taking and sharing photos and videos, playing games, shopping, downloading apps, getting on Facebook and using instant messaging and video calling.

SMS

Short for ‘Short Message Service’. The technical term for text messages.

Snapchat

A photo-sharing app where users can send photos or videos to their friends. These will display on screen for up to ten seconds before being deleted, although it is possible to take screenshots of messages and download other apps designed to capture and save Snapchat content.

Social networking sites

Social networking sites allow members to keep in touch with friends and family, meet people with similar interests, share photos and videos and find out new things.

Software

Programs that run on your computer.

Soundcloud

Soundcloud allows users to upload and download soundfiles, and share them on other social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

Spam

Originally spam was an email message sent to a large number of people without their consent, usually promoting a product or service. Also known as Unsolicited Commercial Email (UCE) or junk email. Now spam is not limited to e-mail: spam comments appear on blogs, Twitter and many other places on the net.

Spotify

Spotify lets users share their music playlists with their Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ friends. Users can also search for other unknown users based on music type and playlist name.

Spyware

A general term for a program that secretly monitors your actions. While they are sometimes sinister, like a remote-control program used by a hacker, software companies have been known to use spyware to gather data about customers.

Stranger danger

The concern that an unknown person might do some harm to a child. This is seen as a significant problem for online activities like chat and email as it can be easy for people to pretend to be someone else online.

Streaming

A method of viewing films or videos online and also of listening to audio online. Internet radio is an example of a device that streams content.

Surf

To browse content on the internet.

T

Tablet

A mobile computer with screen and workings in a single flat unit about the size of a large envelope.

Tagging/tag

Tags are the keywords given to content – web pages, posts, pictures, videos, music or files – by a user or by other people. Tags aren’t predefined – they are chosen by the user to best describe the content. Tags offer a way of informally classifying and organising content that makes it easy for users to find and share information. Also a term for identifying people in posts or photos on social networking sites like Facebook.

Telegram

Telegram is an app available on both mobile and desktops, allowing free and safe messages. The app encrypts messages and gives users the ability to destroy them if unwanted.

Third-party applications

Third-party applications (or apps) are elements of any service which aren’t produced by the host service but by another company or individual. These can be downloaded onto your internet-enabled device. iTunes and Google Play are examples of where you can purchase and download apps.

Timehop

Timehop is an app that allows the user to see the events on social media from a specified point in the past.

Tinder

Tinder is similar to Grindr but for the heterosexual community. Users are ‘selected’ by other users as someone they’d like to meet by swiping right on their photo. If they’re not interested, they swipe left to ‘reject’ them and see more options. As it’s location based, Tinder introduces users to ‘matches’ within the closest radius.

Trackpad

An alternative to a mouse often found on laptops. It is a small rectangle of touch-sensitive material, so you can move your pointer and/or click by touching it with and moving your fingertips.

Trojan

A program that is not what it seems to be. Trojans pretend to be useful programs like word processors but can enter your computer, access files and then pass on information, install spyware or adware or open up your computer to hackers. This is especially a threat when using ‘always on’ internet connections.

Troll

In internet slang, a troll is a person who posts inflammatory comments or messages in an online community such as a forum, chatroom, blog or on social networking sites.

Tumblr

A social networking site where users can post blogs and follow other people’s blogs. Some of the content on this site contains sexual or pornographic images.

Twitter

A social network that lets users send and read “tweets” messages limited to 140 characters.

U

Upload

To copy information from your internet-enabled device to the internet.

URL (or Web Address)

Short for Uniform Resource Locator, a URL is the address which links to a specific webpage. The URL for Internet Matters is www.internetmatters.org. Also known as a ‘web address’.

V

Viber

Users can make free calls, share images and texts free-of-charge anywhere around the world. It is based on knowing the user’s phone number, so you can only message a user if you already know their telephone number.

Video hosting sites

Websites which allow users to view video clips, music videos and movies online. YouTube is a video hosting site.

Vine

A mobile app owned by Twitter that lets users create and upload short looping video clips no longer than seven seconds long.

Virtual

This is a common term on the internet. It means a simulation of the real thing. The internet itself is often seen as a virtual world where you make virtual friends and become a part of virtual communities.

Virus

A virus is a piece of software that can do different things such as delete files, steal data or even take over computers for hackers to control. Viruses find their way into computers via email, from a file downloaded via the internet or from a disc. Antivirus software should be installed to protect computers. Smartphones can also be infected by viruses and should be protected.

Voice over IP (VOIP)

VOIP is a term used to describe making a telephone (voice) call over the internet.

VoiceCandy

VoiceCandy bills itself as a dating app with a difference. Instead of judging people on their looks, users are asked to judge by personality. The app allows users to record a short voice clip and other users decide whether they want to chat before they are able to see a photo. If users don’t find the person attractive once they see their picture, they have 5 seconds to change your mind. If not, the app ‘introduces’ the ‘matched couple’ to each other and they start chatting.

W

Walled garden

The Kindle Fire is a walled garden – you can only use their content and add content from their app store. You can’t just add content the way you can with other devices. An example of a child-friendly site which is counted as a walled garden is Club Penguin.

Wallpaper

The background image that appears on the screen of an internet-enabled device.

Web

Abbreviation for World Wide Web.

Web page

A single screen of material stored on the World Wide Web and sent to a user’s computer to be displayed by their browser.

Web server

A program that manages a website and sends web pages to people’s browsers when they ask for them.

Webcams

A camera, either built into the device or plugged in, that allows images and videos to be shared over the internet. Smartphones have cameras built-in allowing them to be used as a webcam for video calling and Skype.

Website

A collection of web pages. Websites perform different functions e.g. news sites, educational sites, games sites.

WeChat

A text and voice messaging social network that allows users to communicate with people nearby or internationally.

Whatsapp

Free-of-charge, real-time messaging. Users can share images and videos, take part in ‘group chats’ and share locations. As it’s based on knowing the user’s phone number, you can only message users if you already know their telephone number.

Whisper

Whisper is an anonymous messaging app where users are encouraged to share stories they wouldn’t want to put their name to. Posts are liked but user generated comments on posts are unregulated. Whisper includes a category whereby users can search for ‘Meet Up’ – in this category sexual images and messages could be found.

Whitelist

A list of trusted websites, user names and keywords that you have allowed access to so that searching or surfing the internet is safer.

Widgets

Widgets are chunks of code that have been designed to be added easily to a user’s website or profile page. They usually add an interactive or automatically updated element to static web pages, bringing information which is generated or stored on one part of the web to another. A widget might be a mini computer game, a video clip which is uploaded to a video-hosting site, or an update of the latest music someone has listened to. Widgets are often third-party applications – content from a source other than the web or social networking service.

WiFi

A wireless network that allows internet-enabled devices to connect to the internet without the need for cables.

Wiki

A website or program that allows people to add, modify, or delete content in collaboration with others. It should be noted that content can be inaccurate, biased or outdated because it can be edited by anyone.

Worms

A worm is a malicious computer program that replicates itself in order to spread to other computers. Worms can be hidden within email attachments.

WWW

An online service which allows people to put up web pages. The web is made up of many billions of separate web pages each stored on a web server. Each web page can link to other pages, creating a single vast library.

Y

Yik Yak

Yik Yak is an anonymous messaging app that allows its users to send text and photos to others without using their name. Users can choose to engage with the feeds of others within a 5, 10 and 15 mile radius of themselves.

Yo

Users can only send one word and one message to other users with the app: ‘Yo’. Context is given to the word ‘yo’ by whom it’s sent from and when. Its simplicity and sense of fun are considered the secrets to its success.

Z

Zipit

Made by ChildLine, Zipit aims to help teenagers deal with difficult sexting and flirting situations. The app offers humorous comebacks and advice to help teenagers stay in control of flirting when chatting.

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3G

Third generation – a mobile standard that offers fast connections to enable you to make video calls or access the internet.

4G

Fourth generation – mobile with even faster connections to make it much quicker to surf the web on your mobile, tablets and laptops. Speeds are nearer to what you currently experience with home broadband.