Important Web Terms Kids Should Know

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The Internet is an increasing part of today’s culture, especially for children and youth, for whom schoolwork, online gaming, and social networking are among the most popular activities. To meet the expectations of a complex, dynamic, and ever-evolving world, it is important that kids have the opportunity to learn skills that help them gather and make sense of information. These skills will help them solve problems, and evaluate evidence to make decisions or find solutions to challenges.

Important Web Terms

Here is the list of web terminology that is quite popular in use.

@: The “at” sign or “@” symbol is now an integral part of the Internet, it is primarily used to separate the domain name and the user name in an email address.

404: A technical term for Not Found 404 This is usually an error message seen on a Web page to indicate a requested URL was not found on a server.

Address: A web address or URL is used for locating a site or web page.

Adware: Computer programs that display adverts on the screen. Often installed without people realizing.

Antivirus Software: A program that is used to detect, prevent, and remove viruses on your computer or mobile device or that are sent to you in an email, chat message, or web page.

App: Short for application – this is a program or piece of software designed to fulfill a particular purpose and is usually downloaded by a user to a mobile device.

Attachment: A file that is sent along with an email message, social network post, IM, via Skype, and various other programs. It can be any sort of file and pictures are often sent this way.

Avatar: An avatar is a digital representation or icon of a person on the computer.  This avatar can be something you use as a representation of yourself in order to participate in games, chat rooms, on 3-D sites, and in virtual worlds.

Important Web Terms

Blacklist: A list of undesirable websites, usernames, or keywords that you have blocked access to so that searching the internet is safer.

Bloatware: Software with large, often unused additional features that demands an excessive amount of memory or disk space in proportion to the functionality it provides. Also used to refer to the pre-installed software that many equipment manufacturers install before shipping. These programs often load at startup, slowing down the computer’s performance.

Blog: Shortening and combining the words “web“ and ”log “.  A blog is usually maintained by an individual for commentary, a journal, or other things they want to share.  

Bookmark: In the context of the World Wide Web, a bookmark is a feature in the menu of your web browser.  Sometimes it is called favorites or Internet shortcuts.  It’s a virtual way to mark your favorite sites or most frequently visited sites so that you can return to them easily next time.  Newer browsers allow users to access their bookmarks from any computer.

Bot: A program that can do things without the user of the computer having to give it instructions. Many bots are malware as they are installed without people’s permission and can be controlled over the internet and used to send spam or steal data. Also known as web robots.

Broadband: A relatively fast – above 512 kbps – connection to the internet. Most broadband connections are ‘always on’ so that your computer is connected to the internet all the time it is turned on.

Browse: To explore the internet by going from one link to another.

Browser: A browser is a program that links you to pages on websites around the world. To find a website, type in a URL (web address) or click a link or a button in the toolbar.  Examples of a browser are Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari, and Chrome.  

Chat Room: Real-time text conversation between users in a chat room with no expectation of privacy. All chat conversation is accessible by all individuals in the chat room while the conversation is taking place.  

Clickbait: It means what you think it means: bait for clicks. It’s a link that entices you to click on it. Usually referring to YouTube videos with ‘clickbait’ titles to draw users’ attention to get more views on a video.

Community Forum: Websites that allow members to contact each other, take part in chats or create personal web pages.

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.

Cookie: 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.

Cyberbully: A Cyber Bully or Digital Hater is someone who has taken traditional bullying and moved it to digital technology.  This can be done through cell phones, social network sites, email, and/or any personal websites.  Recent studies have highlighted the suicides of cyberbullying victims and felony charges of the perpetrators.  

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

Digital Hater: Digital haters are people who spread hate and rumors via digital technology.  They are cyberbullies and can be prosecuted for crimes against minors for their actions.

Domain Name: A domain name is an identification label that references an area on the internet. The CodingHero domain name is

Download: To download means to bring a file to your local computer from a remote server or internet.

E-commerce: Buying or selling over the internet, usually from a website.

Email: E-mail stands for electronic mail in which messages are transmitted digitally.

Email address: An email address tells your email program where to send messages. The first part of the address is the name of the person’s mailbox, where messages are stored. The second part, after the ‘@’ sign, is the name of the mailbox provider.

Emoji: This is a character set of smileys that were first used in Japan, but have fast become popular across the world.

Emoticon: An icon to portray an emotion.  (i.e. to form a smile, a user would type a colon and a single parenthetical mark   : )

Encryption: The process of transforming information to protect the data and make it unreadable except for the intended recipient.

E-signature: Symbols or other data in the digital form attached to an electronically transmitted document to show the sender’s intent to sign the document. Also known as an E-signature.

Favicon: An icon associated with a particular website, and typically displayed in the address bar of a browser.

Important Web Terms

Firewall: Firewall is a system that secures a network, shielding it from access by unauthorized users.

Flaming: Sending an offensive or aggressive message to a specific person over the internet.

Hacker: A term used to describe someone who is an expert computer programmer or someone who accesses private computer information illegally.

Hashtag: A hashtag is a word or an unspaced phrase prefixed with the hash symbol #. It is used on social networking sites like Twitter to tag and group messages from different people about a common topic.

Homepage: The web page that your browser brings up when you open it or it can be the main page of any web site.

HTML: Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) – this is the format used for creating documents for the web.

Instant Message: Instant Messaging or “IM” is a form of real-time communication between two or more people on the computer, usually through text but can also use pictures.

In-app purchasing: In-app purchasing allows the user to buy virtual ‘extras’ related to an app when they are using the app. In-app purchases are common with games that are advertised as ‘free to download’, but often purchases of virtual gaming ‘currency’ are required to progress in the game.

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

IP address: An IP (Internet Protocol) address is a unique string of numbers separated by full stops that identify each computer over a network.

IRC: Short for Internet Relay Chat. An old but still widely used way of having online chats with several people at the same time.

ISP: Internet Service Provider (ISP) – The ISP is the company that provides Internet service to its customers.  Examples of ISPs:  Verizon Fios, Comcast, AT&T, and Juno.

Internet-enabled service: Any device that allows you to connect to the internet. Examples are computers, laptops, mobile phones, smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, and game consoles.

Intranet: A private network used inside a company or organization.  An Intranet can have web pages that are only accessible to company employees.

Keek: A ‘Keek’ is a short video of up to 36 seconds accompanied by a small amount of text of up to 111 characters. Users respond to keeks with their own keek – a process known as a ‘Keekback’. The interactions can occur in a public or private view.

Keyword: A word or words related to your topic that will help you find information within a search engine.  You will want to use more than one keyword in order to find the best information. (i.e. teens and computers, youth Internet use, adolescents online)

Link: Short for ‘hyperlink’, clicking on it will take you to a predefined location, such as another web page, or cause a document to open in your browser. Links are often shown as bold, underlined, or coloured text.

Listserv: An electronic mailing list that allows users to send email to one address where it is copied and sent to all of the other subscribers of the listserv.

Login or Log In: A login will securely connect you to a website and help the website save personalized data and settings that you provide. To login, you are usually required to provide a username and a password.  Make sure you read the Privacy Policy for the site so that you know what they are doing with your information.

Log off: To disconnect from a computer, network or online service.

Log on: Identify yourself to a computer, network or online service, usually using a username and password.

Malware: Short for malicious software. Programs that damage your computer (viruses), steal your personal information (spyware), display unwanted adverts (adware), or expose your computer to hackers (Trojan horses).

Mixcloud: Mixcloud is similar to Soundcloud and allows users to upload and download sound files.

MMS: Multimedia messages, most commonly picture messages and video you can send and receive with a mobile handset.

Multimedia: A combination of different media to convey information.  i.e. multimedia can contain graphics, animation, and text.

Navigate: To move from web page to web page in a browser.

Netiquette: The conduct of a person while online that is appropriate and courteous to other Internet users.

Network: A number of computers that are linked together so that they can exchange data. Local area networks (LANs) link computers in the same building, wide area networks (WANs) like the internet connect computers that may be far apart. Also known as a computer network.

Net: Abbreviation of ‘internet’.

Offline: When a user or computer is not connected to the Internet.

Online: When a user or computer/technical device is connected to the Internet.

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 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).

Parental controls: Parental controls are the names for a group of settings that put you in control of what content your child can see. Combined with privacy settings these can help you protect your children from the things they shouldn’t see or experience online.

Password: A string of characters that is used for authentication, and to prove identity before allowing a user to enter a site or sections of the internet.  Your password should be a mix of numbers, letters, and symbols so that it isn’t easily stolen.

Peer to Peer: Software (often free) which allows you to download files directly from a single computer anywhere in the world that also has the same software installed. Sometimes known as P2P, this is a commonly used, but usually illegal, way of accessing music, software, and movies.

Permissions: The settings you change to allow or deny 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.

Pharming: Pronounced ‘farming’, this is a method by which scammers try to get personal/private information from users by directing them to false – or ‘spoof’ – websites which look legitimate in your browser.

Phishing: This is a scam involving an email that falsely claims to be from a legitimate organization.  These emails will often ask for social security numbers, passwords, and other information that can be used to access your bank accounts and credit cards.

Piracy: Illegally copying software, music, or movies.  The Web Wise Kids program, Airdogs, addresses piracy. Click Here to find out more about the game.

Privacy Policy: This is the policy that a company uses for handling the personal information they collect from visitors to their websites.

Profile: Social Networking Sites and some chat rooms let users complete a personal profile that others can see. Children and teenagers should never include in a profile any information that could identify them, or disclose where they are.

Real-Time: The actual time at which an event occurs.  Social Media applications on the Internet often show programs in real-time.

RSS feed: RSS (Rich Site Summary) is a format for delivering regularly changing content, such as news updates. Many news and sport-related sites, such as the BBC, syndicate their content as an RSS feed to whoever wants to access it. It allows you to easily stay informed by retrieving the latest content from the sites you are interested in without the need to visit each site individually. To receive RSS feeds you’ll need to use a feed reader. There are a number of web-based feed readers available such as My Yahoo and Google Reader.

Search Engine: A program that helps you search for information on the internet.  Examples of search engines are,, and

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.

Server: A program that manages a website and sends web pages to people’s browsers when they ask for them. Also known as a Web Server.

Site: Short for a website. A site is a collection of web pages. Websites perform different functions e.g. news sites, educational sites, games sites.

SMS: SMS or Short Message Service is a service used to describe Instant Messaging or sending text messages between cell phones or mobile devices.

Social Network: A website that provides ways for users to communicate directly on mutual interest topics and interact with file sharing, blogging, and discussion groups.

Social Media: Any website or web service that uses a ‘social’ or ‘Web 2.0’ philosophy. This includes blogs, social networks, social news.

Soundcloud: Soundcloud allows users to upload and download sound files, and share them on other social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

SPAM: Also known as junk e-mail, is unsolicited Email from someone you don’t know.

Spyware: 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.

Streaming: A method of viewing films or videos online and also of listening to audio online. Internet radio is an example of a device that streams content. 

Surf: To browse content on the internet.

Tagging/Tag: 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 organizing 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.

Text Messaging: Term used to refer to the exchange of brief written messages between mobile devices

Text Rage: Cyber Interactions that lead to an impulse or outbreak of anger leading to violence in the real world.  You can watch and read a recent news story about text rage here.

Text Riots: The use of SMS messages on cell phones to encourage real life violence at a particular event or location.

Third-party applications: Third-party applications (or apps) are elements of any service which aren’t produced by the host service but by another company or individual. These can be downloaded onto your internet-enabled device. iTunes and Google Play are examples of where you can purchase and download apps.

Troll: Someone who posts controversial, inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community such as a chat room or blog

Upload: To copy information from your internet-enabled device to the internet.

URL: A URL (Uniform Resource Locator) is often used to describe a web address or a website’s location.  Technically the correct term for a web address is URI (Uniform Resource Identifier) but this term isn’t popularly known like URL is.

User Name: The name you use to identify yourself when you log in to a system or account.

Virus: A software program designed to infect and destroy files on your computer.  Viruses can be installed on your computer through websites, and file-sharing programs.  You should make sure anti-virus software is installed on your computer to help protect you from these files.

Virtual: 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.

Vlog: Similar to blogs, vlogs are a video-based journal provided online.

Voice Over IP (VOIP): VOIP is a term used to describe making a telephone (voice) call over the internet.

Web: Abbreviation for World Wide Web.

Webcam: A camera, either built into the device or plugged in, that allows images and videos to be shared over the internet. Smartphones have cameras built-in allowing them to be used as a webcam for video calling and Skype.

Web page: A single screen of material stored on the World Wide Web and sent to a user’s computer to be displayed by their browser.

Web server: A program that manages a website and sends web pages to people’s browsers when they ask for them.

Website: A collection of web pages. Websites perform different functions e.g. news sites, educational sites, games sites.

Whitelist: A list of trusted websites, user names, and keywords that you have allowed access to so that searching or surfing the internet is safer.

Widget: Widgets are chunks of code that have been designed to be added easily to a user’s website or profile page. They usually add an interactive or automatically updated element to static web pages, bringing information that is generated or stored on one part of the web to another. A widget might be a mini computer game, a video clip that is uploaded to a video-hosting site, or an update of the latest music someone has listened to. Widgets are often third-party applications – content from a source other than the web or social networking service.

WiFi: A wireless network that allows internet-enabled devices to connect to the internet without the need for cables.

Wiki: A website or program that allows people to add, modify, or delete content in collaboration with others. It should be noted that content can be inaccurate, biased, or outdated because it can be edited by anyone.

Worm: A worm is a malicious computer program that replicates itself in order to spread to other computers. Worms can be hidden within email attachments.

www: An online service that allows people to put up web pages. The web is made up of many billions of separate web pages each stored on a web server. Each web page can link to other pages, creating a single vast library.

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