GISD Parents » Glossary of terms

Glossary of terms


Avatar - A graphic alter ego you create to use online; can be a 3D character or a simple icon, human or whimsical.

Badware - Bad software; includes viruses and spyware that steal your personal information, send spam, and commit fraud. (See Malware.)

Backing up - Making copies of computer data in case something happens to your machine or operating system and the information is lost.

Blocking software - A program to filter content from the internet and restrict access to sites or content based on specific data.

Blog - Short for "web blog," a site where you regularly post personal observations.

Buddy list - A list of people who you can chat with through an instant messaging program.

Chat room - An online space where you can meet and exchange information through messages displayed on the screens of others who are in the "room."

COPPA - The Children's Online Privacy Protection Act; it gives parents control over what information websites can collect from their kids under 13.

Cyberbullying - Bullying or harassment that takes place online; includes posting embarrassing pictures or unkind comments on a person's profile or sending them via instant message or email.

Firewall - Hardware or software that blocks unauthorized communications to or from your computer; helps keep hackers from using your computer to send out your personal information without your permission.

GPS - "Global Positioning System," a global navigation satellite system that is used in cars or phones to determine location and provide directions.

Hacking - Breaking into a computer or network by evading or disabling security measures.

Instant messaging (IM) - Enables two or more people to chat in real time, and notifies you when someone on your buddy list is online.

Intellectual Property (IP) - Creative products that have commercial value, including copyrighted property like books, photos, and songs.

Limited user account - An online setting that grants someone access to some of the computer's functions and programs, but allows only an administrator to make changes that affect the computer.

Malware - Short for "malicious software"; includes viruses and spyware that steal personal information, send spam, and commit fraud.

Password - A secret word or phrase used with a user name to grant access to your computer or protect sensitive information online.

Patch - Software downloaded to fix or update a computer program.

Peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing - Allows you to share files online - like music, movies or games - through an informal network of computers running the same sharing software.

PDA - "Personal Digital Assistant," can be used as a mobile phone, web browser, or portable media player.

Personal Information - Data that can be used to identify you, like your name, address, birth date, or Social Security Number.

Phishing - When scam artists send spam, pop-ups, or text messages to trick you into disclosing personal, financial, or other sensitive information.

Privacy settings - Controls available on many social networking and other websites that you can set to limit who can access your profile and what information visitors can see.

Profile - A personal page you create on a social networking or other website to share information about yourself and communicate with others.

Security software - Identifies and protects against threats or vulnerabilities that may compromise you computer or your personal information; includes anti-virus and anti-spyware software and firewalls.

Sexting - Sending or forwarding sexually explicit pictures or messages from a mobile device.

Smart phone - A mobile phone that offers advanced capabilities and features like a web connection and a portable media player.

SMS - "Short Messaging Service," technology that allows text messages to be sent from one mobile phone to another.

Social Networking site - A website that allows you to build a profile and connect with others.

Spyware - Software installed on your computer without your consent to monitor or control your computer use.

Texting - Sending short messages from one mobile phone to another.

Tween - A child between 8 and 12 years old.

User name - An alias used with a password to grant access to accounts and websites.

Video calling - Internet services that allow users to communicate using webcams.

Virtual world - A computer-simulated online "place" where people use avatars -graphic characters - to represent themselves.

Virus - Malware that sneaks onto your computer- often through an e-mail attachment - and then makes copies of itself.

Webcam - A video camera that can stream live video on the web; may be built into the computer or purchased separately.