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CyberSafe Glossary

We use the following words and phrases all the time, but do we really know what they mean? If you don’t, here’s a handy list to get you up to speed.

In addition, I’ve created and included a few mnemonics to help you with some digital concepts. This isn’t meant to be an all-inclusive list but a starting point for your digital vocabulary.

Blog: Shorthand for Weblog, a type of Web site that is very editorial, user generated, and opinion based. Initially thought of as online journals, all blogs have similar characteristics of being user generated, easy to set up and maintain, and listing material in reverse chronologic order. Blog can mean the actual online entity or the act of blogging.

Bookmark: A digital placeholder for information found online. You can accomplish this on your computer’s Web browser, which is referred to as local bookmarking; this allows for organization by folders. Or you can engage in one of the many social bookmarking sites (eg, to save your favorite links online and organize them by keywords.

Boomers: Young, born from 1955 to 1964; old, born from 1946 to 1954.

Cyberbullying: A form of bullying that takes place in the digital space. This can involve e-mails, instant messages, and texts but has the same elements of off-line bullying in that threats are involved and the victim feels anxious and scared of the bully.

Digital age: The term digital is really synonymous with computer.

Digital divide: The gap created between the people who have computers and access to digital technology and are users of technology, and those who don’t have or don’t use technology.

Digital immigrant: Simply put, parents of digital natives. The generation born before the digital and Internet age who have had to become accustomed to digital life as it evolved and new technologies were introduced. Parents of this generation of digital natives are the first to raise all-digital kids.

Digital native: Kids born into the digital age. This generation of kids, our kids, are the first to be completely digital and online.

E-mail: Simply put, shorthand for electronic mail sent by your computer over the Internet.

Facebook/MySpace: The 2 most popular social networking Web sites for the teen and young adult population. They allow people to connect online with others individually or in groups, as well as the ability for members to communicate with each other as well as share information, pictures, videos, and music.

Following/Followers: The term used by some social networking sites to indicate the process people use to subscribe to your profile, feed, or social networking site, and the people behind that process.

Friending/Friends: The term used by some social networking sites to indicate the process people use to subscribe to your profile, feed, or social networking site, and the people behind that process.

FTP: Shorthand for file transfer protocol. Allows files to be sent computer to computer via the Internet.

Generation X: People born between 1965 and 1976.

Generation Y: People born between 1977 and 1990; also called Millennials.

Google: Many search engines exist online today. Google is the biggest and most popular. Others include Yahoo!, MSN, every cable company including Comcast and Verizon, AOL, and countless others.

Googling/to Google: The phrase people use generically to refer to turn- ing to the Internet to do a Web search. The search may not necessarily be on Google itself, but Googling has become interchangeable with Web searching.

Instant messaging: A real-time form of communication that is popular among tweens and teens. This may be computer- or cell phone-based. Lingo and shorthand are popular to keep conversations flowing andsentences short. Many services are available. Texting SMS (simple message services) is becoming standard with cell phones, making the cell phone-based systems very popular with teens.

Internet: A complex, global computer network that allows for the ex- change of data; very sophisticated technologies and computer programs.

Kids: For the sake of this book, we’ll identify this age group as 4- to 8-year-olds, post-toddler to pre-tween.

Microblogging: A form of blogging that involves brief updates about daily events. Twitter is the most popular microblogging service. It has elements of blogging, instant messaging, and social networking. Update are brief and immediate, go to a wide array of people all at once, and you can respond to people and their updates in real time.

MP3 players and music: MP3 stands for MPEG-1 audio layer 3 and refers to an audio compression technology that revolutionized the entire music industry, transforming it from store-based records and CDs to home computer-based music that can be played and shared on handheld devices.

MySpace: See Facebook/MySpace.

New media: Communication modalities since the advent of the Internet and digital age. Examples include everything online, MP3 music, digital videos and players, digital TV, electronic publishing via CD-ROM and downloadable publications, e-mail, and instant messaging. User modification is often expected, with sharing actively encouraged.

Old media: Communication modalities pre-Internet or digital age. Includes pre-digital TV (analog), radio, and all print materials. Prepackaged with little room for user modification.

Profile: Also referred to as a personal profile or online profile. An online description of a person on a social media or social networking site.

RITE: Mnemonic for deciding if a digital message is correct.

Is the Digital Message RITE?

  • Reread your message to be sure it sounds OK.
  • Imagine if you were receiving the message—would you be upset or hurt?
  • Think about whether it needs to be sent now or can wait a bit.
  • Enter button time.

RSS feed: Two popular meanings for RSS are real simple syndication and rich site summary. RSS is a publication process that pulls headlines from your favorite Web sites and blogs onto your Internet browser home page. Very often, the full story view keeps the reader on his or her home page, with the story appearing in a bubble. This allows the reader to not have to click in and out of so many sites and be more efficient with headline scanning.

Search: Search is how we find what we are seeking on the Internet. Uses keywords.

Search engines: The technology behind search.

Social media: Anything online created by people for other people. Social media is also called user-generated content. Examples include blogs, podcasts, Wikipedia, social networking sites (eg, Facebook, MySpace, Club Penguin), and Twitter.

Social networks: Online communities that often focus on shared interests and experiences. Popular social networks include Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter. Most online networks have many Web 2.0 features such as bloglike aspects, instant messaging, and e-mail.

TECH: Dr Gwenn’s mnemonic for the new American Academy of Pediatrics policy on social media and sexting. Talk to your kids about what they are using and what they’d like to use. Educate yourself about the technology so you can use it; your kids about the issues online to be aware of; and our communities about why this is a global as well as a family issue. Check your kids’ social media logs and profiles often to be sure they are not getting in over their heads and posting inappropriately. Have a family social media and technology use plan that everyone in the home agrees to and signs, including adults.

Teens: People 13 to 18 years old.

Texting: A cell phone-based form of instant messaging. See Instant messaging.

Tweens: People 8 to 12 years old; also called preteens, this is the group between kids and teens.

Twitter: See Microblogging.

2 Cs and 2 Es: Mnemonic for summarizing digital native’s preferences for features of user-generated content—create, communicate, engage, entertain. This population gravitates toward digital venues that allow them to be creative and create things. They need technology that enhances their ability to communicate together. They need technology that facilitates social engagement and interaction. And they want technology that keeps them entertained.

User-generated content: See Social media.

Video-sharing sites: Allow for the sharing and viewing of user-generated videos. YouTube is the most popular.

Web 1.0: First generation of Internet sites that were based on very rigid HTML code. These static sites were not user generated but content generated by a designated Web development team.

Web 2.0: Second generation of Internet sites. Key features include user-generated content and social media abilities.

Web site: Internet destinations designated by a specific URL address.

World Wide Web: A system of Web sites all connected via the Internet via http connections.

URL: Stands for uniform resource locator and is the address for a Web site on the Internet.

YouTube: An example of a video-sharing Web site.

Gwenn Schurgin O’Keeffe, MD, FAAP
Last Updated
CyberSafe: Protecting and Empowering Kids in the Digital World of Texting, Gaming, and Social Media (Copyright © 2011 American Academy of Pediatrics)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
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