Computer programs that display adverts on the screen. Often installed without people realising.



Software with large, often unused additional features that demands an excessive amount of memory or disk space in proportion to the functionality it provides. These programs often load at startup, slowing down the computer’s performance.


Child grooming

When a stranger tries to start a relationship with a child for unlawful purposes; this can happen online or offline.

Content filter

A way of limiting access to material on the internet by examining it before it is shown to the user and deciding whether or not it is acceptable. Often used to restrict access to certain web pages when children are using computers.


A cookie is a small file that is sent to a web browser by a server and stored on the user’s computer. It can then be read by the server every time the user revisits the same website and is used to keep track of personal preferences, shopping choices and other information.

Creative commons

Creative Commons (CC) licences build upon copyright law, signalling the owner’s permission that work can be used in a variety of ways, not automatically allowed under copyright law. Creative Commons search engines can help people discover materials that they can freely and legally share or build upon. See for further information.


To follow someone’s social network profile closely: to an excessive degree. It is not as sinister as it may sound, often creeping is done to catch up with friends, to reminisce about past posts or older content, or to find out more about a friend in whom a person has an interest. This is not always solitary: it can be done by friends viewing and gossiping about another friend’s past posts or content.

Cyber Bullying

When an individual or group uses the Internet to inflict harm with deliberate, repeated, and hostile behavior. This could include sending threatening e-mails or harassing texts, disclosing personal data or embarrassing photos in a public forum or chat room, spreading rumors and lies in an effort to humiliate. Cyber bullying is a serious issue among kids and teens. Learn how to stop cyber bullying.


General peer-to-peer aggression that occurs online and consists in one-off occurrences or happens occasionally but where there is not a power imbalance between the aggressor and the target of aggression or where there is no intention to inflict harm or distress


A term for the internet, which is often viewed as the online, or virtual, world.


Using the Internet and other electronic means to monitor an individual for the purposes of public embarrassment, personal harassment, financial theft, or lewd perversion. Cyberstalkers gather the victim’s personal information and whereabouts through social networking sites, blogs, chat rooms, and other data-collecting websites. Learn how to protect your children.


Decoy app

Decoy apps can be used to store private information, such as photos, videos, voice recordings, or text messages. They look like everyday apps such as a calculator so offer a secure way to hide certain information.



Buying or selling over the internet, usually from a website.


Family agreement

An agreement on how internet access and internet-enabled devices will be used. Should be drawn up and agreed after discussion between family members. This is sometimes referred to as an ‘Online Safety Contract’.


A means of preventing certain types of material, keywords or anything you decide to block from reaching your computer or smart device.


A firewall is a software program or piece of hardware that helps screen out hackers, viruses, and worms that try to reach your computer or smart device over the Internet.


Flaming is a hostile and insulting interaction between Internet users, often involving the use of profanity. It can also be the swapping of insults back and forth or with many groups teaming up on a single victim.

File sharing

Distributing or providing access to digitally stored information, such as computer programs, audio, video, documents, or electronic books. Although not illegal in itself, file sharing sometimes involves copyrighted material. 



Griefing is when a player in an online game deliberately irritates and harasses other players within the game.


Online role-playing, often with multiple players interacting within a virtual game world. As with any online activity, true identities are hidden and teenagers may be misled. You’ll also want to know if your children are accessing pay-to-play sites with credit card information. Learn how teens can practice safe gaming.



covers a wide range of behaviours of an offensive nature. It is commonly understood as behaviour which disturbs or upsets, and it is characteristically repetitive. In the legal sense, it is behaviour which appears to be disturbing or threatening.


Breaking into a computer or system, usually by gaining access to administrative controls. There are different subgroups, varying from non-malicious hackers testing security systems (ethical hackers) to criminal hackers hoping to vandalize, steal, or commit other illegal activity.


Incognito browsing

Incognito browsing is a mode in Google Chrome which allows you to browse without creating a browsing and download history. It also prevents cookies being stored. It is only recommended that children use this on public computers or on any computer they use away from home.

IP address

is a numerical label assigned to each device (e.g., computer, printer) participating in a computer network that uses the Internet Protocol for communication.[1] An IP address serves two principal functions: host or network interface identification and location addressing. Its role has been characterized as follows: "A name indicates what we seek. An address indicates where it is. A route indicates how to get there.

Identity Theft

Occurs when an individual pretends to be someone else in order to steal money or access other benefits. Learn how to safeguard your identity.



Malicious software designed to infiltrate or damage a computer system without the owner's consent. Often downloaded from e-mails and other files online accidentally, malware includes viruses, worms, adware (displaying advertisements on a computer, regardless of the user’s consent), spyware (secretly collecting info about users), bots (robot-like software applications that run automated tasks over the Internet), and other bugs. Learn how to protect yourself.


In general, a masquerade is a disguise. In terms of communications security issues, a masquerade is a type of attack where the attacker pretends to be an authorized user of a system in order to gain access to it or to gain greater privileges than they are authorized for.



Not online. Not connected to the internet. Modern usage can see ‘offline’ used in the context of real life: if you meet someone offline you are meeting in the real world.


If you are online you are connected to the internet and can share data with other computers.

Online Chat

Any communication over the Internet. Primarily this refers to one-on-one conversations via real-time messengers or group conferencing in public forums or “chat rooms.” Common courtesy guidelines, or netiquette, and shorthand jargon (such as LOL) have evolved to simplify instant communication. Since usernames hide true identities, parents should be mindful with whom their children chat.


Parent control software

Parental control software can restrict access to particular programs (such as games aimed at adults) or limit access so that the computer or smart device can only be used for a certain number of hours or between certain times. It can also monitor activity or filter out certain types of content (e.g. sites of a pornographic nature).


A word or series of letters, numbers and characters that only you know, which you use to log on to computers, networks or online services.


The settings you change to allow or deny a service to access your data as part of its function. For example, apps on a smartphone might need you to enable them to access your location so that they can tailor content to the user.


A fraud that is an attempt to steal a victim’s money or identity. Typically large batches of e-mails ask potential victims to “confirm” personal data on a separate site. For Internet criminals to successfully "phish," they must get victims to click on the link. Learn how to detect a phish. 



A deceitful grift that cheats unsuspecting or unknowledgeable people. Often promising life-changing products and services or large amounts of money, scams ask victims to submit personal information—via the Internet, phone or mail—so criminals can steal their money or identity. Learn how to detect a scam.

Security updates

New versions of programs to fix problems that have been found. Often sent out automatically, it is important that security updates are installed as soon as they are released as hackers and malware often try to make use of the errors that are to be fixed.


The term ‘sexting’ is used to describe the sending and receiving of sexually explicit photos, messages or video clips. They may be sent to and from mobiles, via instant messages or email, or posted online on social networking sites.

Social engineering

The act of manipulating people into performing actions or divulging confidential information. The term typically applies to trickery or deception for the purpose of information gathering, fraud, or computer system access. Phishing is one example of an attack technique.

Social Networking

Online communities that focus on sharing data and building connections. Sites provide a variety of ways for users to interact. Some predators misuse the sites for social engineering or other malicious purposes. Learn the safe ways to use social networking.

Social networking sites

Social networking sites allow members to keep in touch with friends and family, meet people with similar interests, share photos and videos and find out new things.


Unsolicited or unwanted electronic messages that come from advertisers and marketers trying to persuade victims to buy their products and services. Learn how to filter spam.


A general term for a program that secretly monitors your actions. While they are sometimes sinister, like a remote-control program used by a hacker, software companies have been known to use spyware to gather data about customers.



Tags are the keywords given to content – web pages, posts, pictures, videos, music or files – by a user or by other people. Tags aren’t predefined – they are chosen by the user to best describe the content. Tags offer a way of informally classifying and organising content that makes it easy for users to find and share information. Also a term for identifying people in posts or photos on social networking sites like Facebook.


A program that is not what it seems to be. Trojans pretend to be useful programs like word processors but can enter your computer or smart device, access files and then pass on information, install spyware or adware or open up your computer to hackers. This is especially a threat when using ‘always on’ internet connections.


In internet slang, a troll is a person who posts inflammatory comments or messages in an online community to provoke other users.


Uploading and downloading

Sending data from a local source to a remote system and the inverse operation, receiving data from a remote system to a local source. Transferred data can be temporarily or permanently stored, and corrupt data and viruses can be spread this way. Learn how to safeguard your computer.


Short for Uniform Resource Locator, a URL is the address which links to a specific webpage. Also known as a ‘web address’. Which is the address that you type in the address bar to go to websites.



This is a common term on the internet. It means a simulation of the real thing. The internet itself is often seen as a virtual world where you make virtual friends and become a part of virtual communities.


A virus is a piece of software that can do different things such as delete files, steal data or even take over computers and smart devices for hackers to control. Viruses find their way into computers via email, from a file downloaded via the internet or from a disc. Antivirus software should be installed to protect computers, smartphones and smart devices.