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.