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Internet Safety Definitions

Attachment – A file that can be added to an e-mail, like a document, photograph, or song. Sometimes attachments carry viruses, so do not open attachments from unknown parties.

Blacklisting Software – A form of filtering that blocks only sites specified as harmful. You can add and remove sites from this "no-go" list.

Blocking Software – Computer programs that block access to websites or other services available over the Internet.

Blog – A Web log, or blog, is an online journal or diary where writers, known as bloggers, may chronicle their daily lives or comment on news and popular culture. Blogs can be set up on social networking sites or on separate blogging websites, such as Xanga® and Blogger®. For more information about blogging, see http://www.netsmartz.org/Blogging.

Bookmark – A way to quickly access a favorite website by saving it in your browser.

Browser – A program that allows users to view Web pages. Mozilla® Foxfire and Microsoft® Internet Explorer are examples of popular browsers.

Chat Acronym – An acronym used to communicate, usually through instant and text messaging. Some popular acronyms include

  • ASL - Age/sex/location
  • BRB - Be right back
  • CD9 - Code 9, parents around
  • F2T - Free to talk
  • IDK - I don’t know
  • LGH - Let’s get high
  • LMIRL - Let’s meet in real life
  • LOL - Laugh out loud
  • MorF - Male or female
  • POS - Parents over shoulder
  • PRON - Porn
  • TMI - Too much information

Chat Room – An interactive forum where you can talk in real-time. The chat room is the place or location online where the chat is taking place. Many chat rooms are established so that people can discuss a common interest like music or movies.

Cookie – Websites use these files to store information on your browser, such as log-in or registration identification, user preferences, and online "shopping-cart" information. Your browser saves the information and reuses it when you return to those websites. You can refuse to accept cookies or erase all cookies saved on your browser.

Cyberbullying – Bullying through Internet applications and technologies such as instant messaging (IM), social networking sites, and cell phones. For more information about cyberbullying and its different forms, visit http://www.netsmartz.org/Cyberbullying.

CyberTipline® – The Congressionally-mandated CyberTipline is operated by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. It is a means for reporting crimes against children, such as child sexual exploitation.  It can be reached at www.cybertipline.com.

Download – Information retrieved from the Internet, discs or CDs, and other computers which you can use or save to your computer.

E-mail (electronic mail) – A service that allows people to send messages with pictures and sounds from their computer to any other computer in the world. To send someone an e-mail message you need an e-mail account and to know the other person's e-mail address.

File-sharing Program – Any program that allows many different users to share files, such as movie, music, and image files, directly with each other. There may be a risk of illegally downloading materials or downloading a computer virus.

Filtering Software  – Software which allows the screening of unwanted Internet content or blocks specific functions, such as e-mail or instant messages.

Firewall – This is a system that creates a special "wall" to keep out unwanted information, like spam and viruses, and unwanted people, like hackers.

Geolocation Services – Users may use these services to share their locations with their friends or with other users. Examples of these services include

  • Facebook Places®
  • Foursquare®
  • Gowalla®

Grooming –This is the process predators use to manipulate minors into sexual relationships or into producing sexual images of themselves. It often includes the giving of compliments or gifts. For more information about predators and their tactics, visit http://www.netsmartz.org/Predators.

Hacker – A popular term for someone who accesses computer information either legally or illegally.

History – A list of websites the people using a particular computer have visited. Check your children’s website history to see what sites they have visited.

Homepage – The Web page that your browser is set to open when it starts up, or the main page of any website.

Hyperlinks – An image or a portion of text that, when clicked, allows electronic connections. These connections access other Internet materials such as images, sounds, animations, videos, or other Web pages.

Icons – Small pictures that represent the programs on your computer.

Instant Messaging – Through instant messaging (IM), users can quickly exchange messages with other online users, simulating a real-time conversation or “chat.” Messages appear almost instantly on the recipient’s monitor, and anyone designated as a “buddy” can participate.

Internet Service Provider (ISP) – A company that provides Internet access to customers, like Comcast®.

Massively Multiplayer Online Role-playing Games (MMORPG) – These games allow a player to choose a character and then interact with many other players in a virtual game world. World of Warcraft® is one example of an MMORPG.  

Monitoring Software – Software products that allow parents to monitor or track the websites or e-mail messages that a child visits or reads.

Mouse Trapping – A commonly used technique by pornography sites where a user gets "locked" in a website. While surfing the Internet it is possible to click a website and have multiple undesirable websites open. When this happens, you often cannot close or back out of the sites and must close your Web browser completely.

Netiquette – Courtesy, honesty, and polite behavior practiced on the Internet.

Pharming – An online scam that attacks the browser's address bar. Users type in what they think is a valid website address and are unknowingly redirected to an illegitimate site that steals their personal information.

Phishing – An online scam that uses e-mail to "fish" for users' private information by imitating legitimate companies. Scammers copy legitimate websites and set up nearly identical pages. People are lured into sharing user names, passwords, account information, or credit card numbers.

Piracy – Illegally copying copyrighted software, music, or movies.

Plug-in – This software extends the capabilities of your browser.  They may allow you to play multimedia or audio files, for example.

Podcast – An audio show that is broadcast over the web and may include talk shows, music, or other types of audio.

Profile – Social media sites often call for users to create a profile where they share certain information, such as their real names, hobbies, and interests. Facebook® and MySpace® users create a profile when they join the sites.

RSS – A way to provide Web content, such as news articles, in standard XML format.

Search Engine – A program that searches for information on the World Wide Web by looking for specific keywords and returns a list of information found on that topic. Google®, Yahoo! ®, and BingTM are examples of search engines.

Sexting – The use of cell phones to send sexual messages, pictures, and videos.

Smartphone - Unlike its more basic counterparts, smartphones have operating systems and allow users to run applications similar to those used on computers. For example, users may be able to view, create, and edit documents from a smartphone.

Social Media Sites – Internet applications which are used to facilitate communication between users. These applications include

  • Blogs and microblogs such as LiveJournal® and Twitter®
  • E-mail programs such as Gmail™, Yahoo!Mail®, and Hotmail®
  • Picture and video sharing sites such as Flickr®, Photobucket®, and YouTube®
  • Social networking sites such as Facebook®, MySpace®, and MyYearbook®
  • Virtual worlds such as Club Penguin®, Habbo®, and Nicktropolis®

Social Networking Site – An online community where people from all over the world may meet and share common interests. These sites allow members to set up a profile, which may include information such as name, location, phone number, age, and gender. Often users will post pictures and videos. For more information about social networking, see http://www.netsmartz.org/SocialNetworking.

Spam – Unwanted e-mail from someone you don't know. It is usually trying to sell you something.

Streaming – The exchange of video clips, sound, or other types of media over the Internet. It is a way for the user to quickly download these files.

Temporary Internet Files – A folder on your computer that will tell you every site that has been visited. Every time you open a Web page, your computer saves a copy of that site’s files and graphics in your “temporary Internet files folder.”

Virus – A computer program that can destroy files or make your computer "crash." Viruses can be sent via e-mail or through other file-sharing programs. Anti-virus software and not downloading information from people you don't know can help keep viruses from damaging your computer.

Web 2.0 – The evolution of the Internet which allows users to create their own content and put it on the Web, in addition to downloading content. Social networking sites, like Bebo®, and video-sharing sites, like YouTube®, are both part of Web 2.0.

Webcam – Webcams, also known as “cams,” are video cameras set up on home computers or laptops that can be accessed via the World Wide Web.

Whitelisting Software – A form of filtering that only allows connection to a preapproved list of sites that are considered useful and appropriate.