- Ask.fm – A social networking platform aimed at pre-teens and teenagers, where the goal is to anonymously ask questions. The application has been used in the past as a method of cyberbullying, though management has announced it intends to end this trend.
- Avatar – A virtual representation of someone’s presence online, such as in chatrooms, forums or on multiplayer games. Avatars do not necessarily represent someone’s actual physical appearance and are frequently borrowed from cartoons, films, or etc.
- Background Check – A report that contains detailed information – such as credit history, arrest records, education and more – on a person of interest. Employers use background checks to learn more about prospective applicants for jobs, while parents may check who is spending time with their children.
- Block – To prevent a computer or cellphone from doing something, such as visiting a website or running an application. Alternatively, can mean to prevent all contact from another person online, such as messages or sharing of posts. Kids should learn to block text messages that are sent by strangers.
- Blog – A personal webpage for expressing one’s individual opinions or interests.
- Chatroom – An open and anonymous web space in which people – oftentimes complete strangers – can have conversations with one another. Today, chatrooms can also include audio and or video sharing. While some chatrooms are supervised by a moderator, many are not. It is important to discuss rules for using chatrooms with your child.
- Creeper – media Someone who obsesses over another person (or multiple people’s) social feeds by frequently reviewing past content while commenting or reacting to every social media post by that person.
- Cyberbullying – Stalking and harassment of a person committed online, usually over social media. Over half of people under age 18 admit to having experienced some form of cyberbullying, with the phenomenon being slightly more common among girls than boys. It is important to monitor your child for signs of cyberbullying.
- Decoy App – An app which is disguised to look like something else, usually to store private information. One common disguise includes designing the app to look and function like a calculator, except when a specific set of numbers of entered and the user is taken to a hidden storage system. Make sure to personally check what apps your child is using on their phone.
- Discord – A form of free voice, video and text chat that is growing in popularity, particularly in the video game community. Since 2017, the service has been criticized for allowing extremist groups to communicate more easily.
- Emoji – Small digital images used alongside text which help convey mood. Common emojis include smiley faces, types of food or flags.
- Exclusion – Not allowing someone to participate in group activities or singling them out for harassment. In an online context, can be the refusal to interact with a person’s social media or not inviting them to large groups and events which they would otherwise be included in.
- Facebook – The largest social media site in the world, Facebook has about 2.2 billion active monthly users who share photos, status updates and news with each other. Facebook has received criticism for its privacy settings, which frequently auto-enable users’ content to be shared publicly. Although the official requirement for joining Facebook is 13, this is relatively easy to circumvent. Parents should discuss social media rules before letting their children create a Facebook account.
- Flaming – Making hurtful messages online or inciting an argument by bringing up personal attacks on another person. It is important to explain to children what sorts of language are unacceptable online.
- Forum – A public discussion board in which people can semi-anonymously discuss topics by logging in under an alias. Most forums have minimum age requirements and are run by moderators who ensure conversations stay on topic.
- GIF – A common image file format typically used for uploading and sharing short animations or video captures. Many GIFs are humorous in nature and can be used as reactions in chats or displayed prominently on blogs. (Pronunciation with both hard or soft “g” is ok!)
- Grindr – A dating app for gay and bisexual men that allows nearby users to connect with each other, usually for the purposes of hooking up. Users typically select each other based on provided pictures, which might be adult in nature.
- Grooming – The process of a pedophile gradually warming up a child over the internet, culminating in a real-life meeting and probably with sexual contact. Parents should know how pedophiles groom children for contact.
- Hacker – Someone who illegally and illicitly gains entry to a computer or computer network, usually for the purposes of accessing confidential information. You can help protect yourself from hackers by creating strong passwords and not sharing them with anyone. Make sure these rules are in your child’s phone contract!
- Hashtag – Popularized through the social media platform Twitter, hashtags append the hash (or pound) symbol # with a word or phrase without spaces. It is used to help add context to a post or to group posts by categories and topics.
- Incognito Mode – An option initially offered by the Google Chrome internet browser which allows users to not collect cookies or browsing history as they use the internet. Older children may use incognito mode to view pornography or other adult content without leaving a trace on shared computers. Using a monitoring system is therefore the only way to be sure what your children are looking at online.
- Instagram – A social network centered around photo sharing, which users can “like” and comment upon. Young people often view Instagram as a more private social space than Facebook or Twitter, though the service is owned by Facebook.
- IRC – Standing for “Internet Relay Chat,” IRC is an early and simple form of chat room technology which is still in wide use today.
- Junk Mail – Also known as spam or spam mail, these are unwanted emails usually related to advertisements or scams.
- Kik Messenger – A popular anonymous messaging app used by nearly half of American teenagers. Kik’s features include an in-app web browser which users can share content over, a video recorder and options to send GIFs or sketches between users.
- Lurker – Someone who spends time reading content but not otherwise interacting with an online forum, chatroom or social media space.
- Leet – Meaning “elite” and often used in the context of the hacking or video game communities, this term refers to someone who is highly skilled. It is often expressed with the numbers 1337 which resemble “LEET.” “Leet-speak” is text typed with heavy or complete use of numbers, e.g. “1337 5P34K” for “LEET SPEAK.”
- Malware – Referring to “malicious software” is designed to damage a computer or computer network. The term encompasses software that steals your personal information, allows your computer to be opened by hackers or display unwanted advertisements. Teaching your children safe habits on the internet, such as avoiding untrustworthy websites, helps reduce your chance of getting malware.
- Moderator – Someone who ensures that discussion on an online chatroom or internet remains on-topic and within the rules set by the discussion platform. Moderators are also responsible for removing comments and reprimanding users who violate rules, up to and including removing users from the discussion.
- Monitoring Software – A type of software that allows parents to see the messages their children are saying, websites visited, current location and more. Monitoring software such as KidGuard is available for both smart phones as well as computers.
- Noob – From “newbie,” meaning someone who is new to or unfamiliar with the rules of a website, chatroom or game.
- Omegle – A popular and free online video chat platform where users are randomly matched with other strangers without having to register. Omegle has received criticism for allowing minors to see sexual content, such as other users exposing themselves. Remember to discuss appropriate behavior online before you let your children use Omegle.
- Peer-to-peer – Also called “P2P,” this is a method of internet file sharing where users exchange information directly without passing through a server. These services are often used to illegally download files such as movies, TV or video games, so make sure you discuss the legal ramifications of doing so with your children.
- Permissions – Refers to settings enabled by a computer or network administrator. Permissions can be set by a corporate IT department, personal computer owner or by parents controlling a device that they give to their children. Both the iPhone and Android have permission settings that parents should review.
- Phishing – A method of stealing someone’s confidential information, such as a user name, password or bank information. A fraudster tricks a target into revealing details by presenting them with a false website or email, purporting to be from a trustworthy source, that requests the wanted information. Your children should know not to reveal any information online.
- Reddit – A popular online news sharing and discussion board. Users are anonymous, though most open discussion spaces are moderated. Some parts of the site contain adult content such as pornography and violence.
- Selfie – Meaning “self-portrait,” usually taken by the photographer of him or herself with a smartphone, often at arm’s reach. Some people use a “selfie stick” to aid them, which is a long stick attached to a smartphone.
- Sexting – The act of sending, receiving or forwarding sexual text messages and photographs. Studies show that approximately 1 in 5 teens has electronically sent nude or semi-nude pictures of themselves, while up to 60% of young people have sent sexually explicit text messages. Make sure your children understand the dangers of sexting, including laws against sending underage sexual images.
- Skype – A widely-used, free application for messaging, video and voice calling over the internet. Skype does not require a phone number to register and users can easily add each other, so it is important to teach your children not to accept Skype contact requests from unrecognized users.
- Soundcloud – An online platform for sharing music and other audio files. Soundcloud is popular among small-time and independent musicians as a method of promoting their music and finding new audiences.
- Snapchat – A type of social media platform centered around sharing pictures or short videos (called “snaps”) that disappear after they are accessed by a recipient. Snaps often contain additions and special effects which can be triggered by the location. Snapchat is a popular platform for sexting due to the belief that any pictures sent cannot be saved, however there are ways of circumventing this.
- Spotify – A popular application that allows users to stream music over the internet in exchange for a small monthly fee or occasional advertisements.
- Tagging – To include one or more names in an online post or picture. Tagging signifies that the content relates to the person(s) in question. Cyberbullying social media or blog posts will often tag the victim to show the content pertains to that person.
- Tinder – Used predominantly by young people, Tinder is a dating app in which one “swipes” pictures of other users right (to express interest) or left (not interested). If two users swipe right on each other, they are connected and allowed to begin communicating.
- Troll – Someone who purposely attempts to create arguments and discord on chatrooms, online forums or social media. “Trolling” often relies upon making controversial statements or personal attacks. As part of a computer or cell phone contract, you can set a rule that your child cannot make hurtful comments online.
- Tumblr – A popular short-form blogging and social networking site, where users can share and comment upon another users’ content. Tumblr has over 417 million blogs, of which up to 20% feature pornographic or other adult content.
- Twitter – One of the most popular social media platforms, with over 319 million users who write “tweets” that are publicly accessible. Tweets are short form, usually one or two sentences long. Twitter is popular for breaking news updates or for following the lives of celebrities.
- Vimeo – A popular video streaming website where users can upload and share content they have created. Vimeo content often focuses on high-definition videos, such as independent short films or animations. Some of the videos on Vimeo have more graphic sexual content than on YouTube, so it is important to set a YouTube parental filter if you have young children watching videos on this website.
- Virus – A type of self-replicating malware capable of “infecting” other applications by inserting its own code. Most viruses are created to steal personal information and allow hackers to make money. Like with malware, you and your children can protect your computers and phones from viruses by following guidelines for safe internet browsing.
- VoIP – Meaning “Voice over IP,” this is the industry term for any kind of voice and multimedia communications delivered over the internet. This technology is used to enable Skype
- WeChat – A free instant message, voice and video chat application for mobile phones, popular mainly in China. WeChat allows some ability to speak with strangers, including a “random chat” option that can initiate conversation with anyone in the world. The app also includes a wide variety of additional services for online shopping and ecommerce.
- WhatsApp – A free mobile phone application for texting, video or voice calls. WhatsApp currently has over 1.5 billion users, making it the world’s most popular messaging platform.
- Whisper – A social media platform in which users can anonymously share photo and video “secrets” with people in the same area. The app has raised controversy for potentially contributing to cyberbullying, as users can leak hurtful information about someone without attribution.
- YouTube – The world’s largest video streaming site, containing TV show and movie clips, video game footage, video blogs (called “vlogs”) and other original content. Some content deemed inappropriate for minors is unavailable for viewing unless one has a registered account with an age over 18.