BerkswichCE Primary School

Achieve, Believe and Care

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Computing Vocabulary Glossary of Terms

+, AND, “ “, NOT, * wildcard

Additional characters used in online searches to limit, expand or determine the search results returned by a search engine. Sometimes referred to as Boolean operators.


Software which automatically displays or downloads advertising material such as banners or pop-ups when a user is online. Designed to generate advertising revenue.

Adware blockers

Software which will stop or block unwanted banner ads or pop-ups from appearing. Some of these adware blockers are available as browser plug-ins. (See also pop-up blockers)

Ad targeting

The term covers a range of strategies used by companies to make ads more visible. This includes consideration about where on the page an ad is placed in order to get maximum visibility or clickability as well as basing the placements of ads on a user’s behaviour, profile data (e.g. gender, age, location) or purchasing history etc. Ads are targeted to audiences with
specific traits.

Age verification

Age verification mechanisms allow the age of a customer or service user to be checked by the service provider using sources such as credit cards, birth records etc.

AI (artificial intelligence)

Computer programmes which can think, learn, make decisions, solve problems and mimic human cognition meaning they are able to perform tasks such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and translation between languages.


A precise set of ordered steps that can be followed by a human or a computer to achieve a task.


This describes situations where a person’s true identity is unknown. This is often achieved by adopting pseudonyms or omitting identifiable information from an online presence.

Anonymous reporting routes

A mechanism which allows users to report safeguarding issues anonymously, generally though an online facility which offers users the choice to enter contact details or not. Anonymous routes are often effective in engaging wider populations around online incidents, and provide support for those who want to report issues but are fearful of possible repercussions.

App permissions

When apps are downloaded the user grants certain permissions of data and information that the app is able to access. This could include access to location, camera, microphone, browsing history, contact list etc. Some are legitimate and an app will need access in order to function correctly, others less so and will be more about the acquisition of data. Users are very often unaware of the permissions that they have granted.

AR (augmented reality)

A technology which superimposes a computer-generated image over a user's real view of the world, thus providing a composite view.

Attribute (property)

A word or a phrase that can be used to describe an object such as its colour, size, or price.


A feature in which an application predicts the word or words a user is typing.


An icon, cartoon or image to represent a user online on social media, in video games or other services.


A term describing intended jovial teasing or talk amongst friends, it has the effect of creating a bond among the group. Much banter is good-natured but when banter comes into contact with the outside world, including online, those not in the group, unaware of the permissive bond between members, can only take what’s being ‘said’ at face value. Statements that participants consider as being in jest can sound hostile. Online, without the benefit of facial expressions, body language, tone of voice and context things can easily be misinterpreted. There is a risk that bullying behaviour can be excused as ‘banter’.

BBFC (British Board of Film Classification)

UK organisation charged with rating and classifying film and other forms of media in terms of age and content.


Metrics related to human characteristics, e.g. finger prints, facial recognition, iris / retina recognition. Biometric authentication (or realistic authentication) is used in computer science as a form of identification and access control. It is also used to identify individuals in groups under surveillance.

‘Brand you’

This refers to the way you choose to portray yourself online including conscious decisions to keep all content shared of a similar look and feel. This is often driven by the desire to gain more likes, follows or comments or even for commercial gain.

Breadcrumb trail

A navigation aid in user interfaces. It allows users to keep track of their locations within programs, documents, or websites, usually appearing at the top of a webpage.


Informal communication online which can be found across different services such as social media, gaming and video sharing platforms. It can be a direct message to one person or multiple people in a group chat.


Storing and accessing data and programs over the Internet instead of a computer’s hard drive. Cloud storage can be accessed on almost any device with an internet connection as it is remote storage.


The commands that a computer can run.

Code snippet

A section of a program viewed in isolation


The process by which an individual or group convinces someone to engage in behaviour and actions to the benefit of the coercer.


A single instruction that can be used in a program to control a computer.


A way of responding to content posted online usually found directly underneath the content itself.


A programmable machine that accepts and processes inputs and produces outputs (input, process, output; IPO).

Computer network

A group of interconnected computing devices.

Computer system

A combination of hardware and software that can have data input to it, which it then processes and outputs. It can be programmed to perform a variety of tasks.


A statement that can be either True or False.

Content creators

Someone who is responsible for contributing to information / content on any media, in this context a website, social media platform or app.


The capacity for ‘connected’ devices to share data about individuals or groups online. Individuals may or may not be aware that this is data is being collected and shared, or how it is being used.


Data generated by a website and saved on your web browser for the purpose of storing user preferences and login details (if selected to).

Copyright theft

Sometimes referred to as piracy, copyright theft is the use of content which is protected by copyright law, without the required permissions needed to reuse it.


Content or messages which offer a positive alternative to extremist propaganda or narratives online.

Creative Commons Licensing
An American non-profit organisation devoted to expanding the range of creative works available for others to build upon legally and to share. Several free copyright licenses (known as Creative Commons licenses) have been released to the public.

The digital removal of unwanted outer areas of a photo, image or video.

The practice of obtaining information or input into a task or project by enlisting the services of a large number of people, either paid or unpaid, typically via the Internet.

The use of electronic communication to bully, exclude or intimidate someone. It can be direct forms of communication or indirection ‘mentions’ online which someone perceives to be aimed at them.


A letter, word, number etc. that has been collected for a purpose, but stored without context.

Data set

A collection of related data.
DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service)

A DDoS attack is an attempt to make an online service unavailable by overwhelming it with traffic from multiple sources.


The process of finding and correcting errors in a program.


To break down a task into smaller, more achievable steps.

Deep fake technology

A technique for combining and superimposing existing images and videos onto other images and videos. The result can convincingly present something which did not actually occur.
Deep learning

A form of artificial intelligence that mimics the workings of the human brain in processing data and creating patterns for use in decision making.
Deep web

The deep web is the part of the Web not indexed by search engines, e.g. personal online banking pages. These pages are often hidden behind logins and are usually encrypted.

Digital age of consent

This is the minimum age that children can provide their own consent to the processing of their data. The UK has set this age as 13.

Digital device

A computer or a device with a computer inside that has been programmed for a specific task.
Digital manipulation

Altering a photo or video so that features are added, removed or appear differently. This may be done through the use of software or an app e.g. using filters, cropping or Deep fake technology
Digital personality
Created as individuals’ online activity and behaviour is monitored; collected and analysed. A person’s ‘digital personality’ can be used by and possibly sold to unknown others in order to target tailored advertising, information and disinformation specifically intended to be attractive to the individual and to influence their beliefs and choices.

Inaccurate information deliberately distributed and intended to confuse, mislead or influence.

A term coined by danah boyd to explain why people behave differently when they are using online technologies. They are likely to feel a lack of restraint compared to when they are communicating in person.

Operating system based on Linux which can be installed and used on another system (usually through a USB key) to bypass security and filtering.

An app or browser extension which blocks internet trackers from collecting and subsequently sharing information.

Domain name

The part of a website’s URL that is user friendly and identifies that it is under the control of a particular person or organisation e.g.
DPA (Data Protection Act 2018)
A law which governs the collection, processing, storage and distribution of personal data in the UK, overseen by the Information Commissioner's Office. The Act is the UK implementation of the EU General Data Protection Regulation or GDPR (see also GDPR).

An example of a search engine which does not track users.


A small image or icon used to convey an idea, item or emotion. These are sent instead of or alongside messages written in text on messaging services and social media.
Echo chamber
Activity, often on social media, where people of like mind reinforce a single view point to the exclusion of alternatives. An ‘echo chamber’ (or ‘reality bubble’) can create a false impression that an opinion is more widely held in society than it actually is, and can significantly strengthen people’s beliefs.

The process of converting information, messages or data into a code, especially to prevent unauthorized access. Some services offer end-to-end encryption which only allows communicating users to read messages.

In an online context this refers to an individual who is left out from online chats, social media groups etc.
Facial recognition

Software capable of identifying or verifying a person from a digital image or videos.
False context

When genuine content is shared with false contextual information, e.g. date, location, event or motivation.
Fair dealing
A legal term used to establish whether a use of copyright material is lawful or whether it infringes copyright. There is no statutory definition of fair dealing – it will always be a matter of fact, degree and impression in each case. The question to be asked is: how would a fair-minded and honest person have dealt with the work?
Fake news

Fake news is a form of news consisting of deliberate disinformation or hoaxes spread via traditional news media or online social media.
Fake profiles

Online accounts created to look like they are from a known and reputable source.

A form of editing used on social media and editing apps to make photos and images appear more glossy and achieve a more desired look and feel.

Find my phone

An app provided on mobile devices to allow users to geo-locate their device if lost, misplaced or stolen. Further features allow remote locking and deletion of data, image capture through the camera of the user and messaging.

A network security system, either hardware or software based, that uses rules to control incoming and outgoing network traffic. A firewall acts as a barrier between a trusted network and an untrusted network.
Fitness trackers

Wearable multi-sensor devices that can collect data on movement; sleep; heart rate; blood pressure which is then collated and analysed via an associate app. Examples are Fitbit; Apple Watch and Galaxy Gear.

An acronym for ‘fear of missing out’, describing a user’s feeling of compulsion to check their phone or social media feed at regular intervals for fear of not staying up to date with conversations or events involving their friends.
An internet forum, or message board, is an online discussion site where users hold conversations in the form of posted messages. They differ from chat rooms in that messages are often longer than one line of text, and are at least temporarily archived. Depending on the access level of a user or the forum set-up, a posted message might require approval by a
moderator before it becomes visible.
A forum can contain a number of sub-forums, each of which may have several topics. Within a forum’s topic, each new discussion is called a thread, and can be replied to by multiple users.
GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation)
A regulation by which the European Parliament, the Council of the European Union and the European Commission intend to strengthen and unify data protection for all individuals within the European Union (EU). This regulation has been brought into UK law under the Data Protection Act 2018.

The process of identifying the geographical location of a person or device by means of digital information processed via the Internet.


A digital animation which includes still or moving images used as a form of jovial communication (see also memes).
Guerilla Mail

A temporary email service which does not require registration and which only lasts for 60 minutes.
Gaining unauthorised access to a computer system or account. Someone who does this may be referred to as a ‘hacker’. Hackers find vulnerabilities in computer systems such as poor passwords or use technical methods to ‘attack’ systems. Some companies employ ethical hackers to help them protect their systems.

Intentional and repetitive behaviour against an individual, which is felt to be threatening or disturbing, or creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for the individual.


The physical parts of a computer system.
Helpline services

Online or telephone-based services providing help and support e.g. Childline or The Mix for young people, and the NSPCC helpline and the Professionals Online Safety Helpline for adults.

Instances in which a webpage or site has been viewed.

A fictional story circulated online, frequently intended to shape people’s beliefs or opinions. Hoaxes can appear increasingly credible as they are repeatedly forwarded online.

HTML (HyperText Markup Language)

A standardised language used to define the structure of web pages


(Also: link, weblink) Text or media that when clicked, takes the user to another specified location (URL)

Identity ideals

Aspirational ideas about identity shared and reinforced online.
Identity theft

The fraudulent practice of using another person's name and personal information in order to obtain credit, loans, etc.

In-app purchases

The purchase of additional content or services within an app or game often by using real money but sometimes in exchange for in-game money.

A browser setting in Chrome that allows a user to browse without recording sites visited in the browser history. Referred to as in-private browsing on other browsers such as Safari and Internet Explorer.


Data put into a context that provides meaning.

Information technology

The study, use, and development of computer systems for storing, processing, retrieving, and sending information.


Someone who promotes lifestyle ideals, products, services or events via social media platforms. Influencers tend to have large numbers of followers which makes them more attractive to companies who want to advertise particular products.
Information operations

Actions taken online by unknown people, organisations and countries to use the media (especially social media) to steer public opinion by targeting and disseminating selective information or disinformation.

A form of a court order that compels a party to do or refrain from specific acts. A party that fails to comply with an injunction faces criminal or civil penalties, including possible monetary sanctions and even imprisonment.


Data that is sent to a program to be processed.

Input device

A piece of hardware used to control, or send data to, a computer.


The global system of interconnected computer networks.

Internet of things

Everyday devices which are connected together via an internet connection with the purpose of sharing data and syncing outputs / actions.
Junk folders

A place used to store spam or unwanted incoming e-mail so that it stays out of a user’s inbox.
Kickstarter A crowdfunding website which enables users to contribute money towards projects such as music, games or technology developments.

A published false statement that is damaging to a person's reputation; a written defamation.

Lifestyle sites
Generic term for sites which reference physical and mental health issues. Usually set up by online communities experiencing these issues and often unregulated, unlike established and verified agencies offering online support services.
“Like” buttons are often available in social media platforms to signal a response to online content viewed. Users are encouraged to respond to content to build community, but it also serves the social media provider with additional information regarding an individual’s online activity, which often shapes the resultant experience they have and the content they see on that platform.

The broadcasting of live video to an audience over the internet. It can also be a one-on-one live video chat.


(Count-controlled, condition-controlled, or infinite) Commands that repeatedly run a defined section of code.

Loop (condition-controlled)

A command that repeatedly runs a defined section of code until a condition is met.

Loop (count-controlled)

A command that repeatedly runs a defined section of code a predefined number of times.

Loop (infinite)

A command that repeatedly runs a defined section of code indefinitely
Loot boxes
An in-game purchase consisting of a virtual container that awards players with items and modifications based on chance. Loot boxes and other microtransactions are increasingly used to improve the profitability of games that are free to play or that are paid for as an initial purchase.

An image, video, piece of text, etc., typically humorous in nature, that is copied and spread rapidly by Internet users, often with slight variations (see also GIFs).

Sometimes referred to as malicious software, malware is a program designed to damage or carry out unwanted actions on a device or computer network.

Online platforms, features or accounts which are designed to sell an array of products and services.

Inaccurate information distributed by accident and without malicious intent.

Usually used to refer to internet traffic which is logged by a service provider or organisation e.g. school.

Night-shift mode
A mobile device features which changes the colour temperature of the screen to decrease the amount of blue light emitted from the display. It reduces screen brightness and assists with the absorption and release of the sleep hormone Melatonin. It can be activated automatically during sleeping hours.


Something that can be named and has other attributes (properties), which can be labelled.


Something that is uniquely identifiable and has attributes
Online commerce

The activity of electronically buying or selling of products on online services or over the Internet.
Online identity

A social identity that an internet user establishes in online communities and websites. 

Outing someone

The practice of revealing private information about an individual online. This can be the sharing of private messages or information.


The result of data processed by a computer.

An imitation of the style of a particular writer, artist, or genre with deliberate exaggeration for comic effect.
Peer support

When individuals use their own experiences to help other people taking a number of forms such as peer mentoring, reflective listening (reflecting content and / or feelings), or counselling.
Peer-to-peer technology (P2P)

Allows users to access media files such as books, music, movies, and games using software which locates content by searching other devices on a peer-to-peer network.
PEGI (Pan-European Game Information)
EU classification system that rates games in terms of age suitability and content. Intended to regulate the retail of games to underage purchasers.
Persuasive design

Online features that are designed to change attitudes or behaviours of users through persuasion and social influence, by drawing on psychological and social theories. E.g autoplay function on YouTube, Snapchat streaks.


Sending electronic communications which attempt to obtain personal details (such as usernames, passwords, bank details) by claiming to be from a legitimate source. This information may then be used fraudulently.
Pirate sites

Sites which provide links to download online content such as films, music, games and software illegally without payment.
Political agenda

An underlying political motivation for sharing content or messages.
Pop-up blockers

Prevents pop-ups from displaying in a user’s browser. Pop-up blockers work in a number of ways: some close the window before it appears, some disable the command that calls the pop-up, and some alter the window’s source HTML.
A form of online advertising usually commercial in nature, but can also be linked to malware and viruses. Content “pops up” on screen in a second window; can be managed and limited through browser settings or third party malware apps.
The information a user shares on social media presenting some personal details to other users. It may contain images, likes, hobbies, their network of contacts, contact details etc. Profiles can be unrepresentative and misleading (see also fake profiles).
The deliberate provision of:
• information that whilst accurate may be narrowly selected, failing to present other pertinent facts
• disinformation that is not factually accurate
• a combination of information and disinformation where the inclusion of valid information is intended to mask or legitimise the disinformation with the intention of influencing the choices, actions or beliefs of others.

A third party website set up for users to bypass filtering restrictions on the network they are using. Whilst these sites are often blocked by network administrators, others proliferate rapidly and are often listed on some areas of the internet.


The process by which a person is groomed to support terrorism and forms of extremism leading to terrorism.

A type of malicious software designed to block access to a computer system until a sum of money is paid.
Remote access

The ability to access to a computer or a network from a remote location - also known as remote desktopping.
Remote data deletion

A remote wipe may delete data in selected folders, repeatedly overwrite stored data to prevent forensic recovery, return the device to factory settings or remove all programming on the device.
Removable media

Any type of storage device that can be removed from a device while the system is running e.g. CDs, DVDs, Blu-Ray disks, USB drives. Removable media makes it easy for a user to move data from one computer to another.
Reviews (fake or misleading)

A critical appraisal of a service, product or location. Reviews can be unrepresentative and misleading.
RTBF (Right to be Forgotten)
In May 2014, the European Court Of Justice ruled that EU citizens have a ‘Right To Be Forgotten’, enabling them to request that search engines remove links to pages containing content deemed private, even if the pages themselves remain on the internet.

The use of humour, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticise people, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues.
Online scams are schemes to extort money via online communications, e.g. through fake websites or emails. Messages may be sent to create fear (e.g. pretending something has or will happen), threat (e.g. pretending a person has done something they haven’t) or reward (e.g. pretending someone has won a prize).

Having doubt or questioning something you have seen or have been told.


Way of capturing screen content on computers and mobile devices that can later be used to support issues and assist reporting.
Search engine

A programme, script or tool which searches the internet for information, images or material based on keywords or content entered by a user.
Search engine rankings

The position at which a particular site appears in the results of a search engine query.
Secure services Methods of communication which are encrypted or use secure protocols to protect users (see also encryption).

A list of pages of a website accessible to users.

False and damaging statements made about an individual or organisation.
Social bot

Automated software which generates content and messages presenting as if it is from a real person.
Social media feed

A collection of content shared on social media by an account often found on the account’s profile.

Social reporting

Reporting inappropriate, unkind or unpleasant content to other friends or users online, garnering support to apply pressure to the individual posting that content.

Unsolicited messages or content sent online to a large number of users. Spam is usually sent for the purpose of advertising, phishing or spreading virus / malware.

Listening to music or watching video in ‘real time’, instead of downloading a file to your computer and watching it later.
Strong and secure password
A sequence of three random words can make a password stronger and harder to hack e.g. FlamingoHeadMan. Special characters can also be added to improve it e.g. 42@FlamingoHeadMan A separate password should be used for a personal email account as this is usually the gateway to all other accounts.
Terms and conditions
Terms of service (also known as terms of use and terms and conditions, commonly abbreviated as TOS or ToS and ToU) are rules by which one must agree to abide in order to use a service. Many online service providers have complex T&C’s that are difficult for a user to navigate and fully understand. The UK Children’s Commissioner has created simplified T&C’s for some of the main social media platforms.
Torrent sites

Sites offering files for download using a distributed peer-to-peer file sharing system. The programs used to download files via the BitTorrent protocol are called BitTorrent clients.

A Trojan horse or Trojan is a type of malware that is often disguised as legitimate software. Trojans can be employed by hackers trying to gain access to users’ systems.

The sending of malicious, abusive or derogatory messages by one user (a ‘troll’) to another user online with the intention of upsetting or harassing them, or damaging their reputation. Trolling is often anonymous.
Trusted adult
Someone who a young person has a good relationship with and has their best interests in mind. Most likely to include someone at home or in school. It is important that young people have a number of trusted adults they can go to from different areas of their lives and they may need support in identifying these.
Two-factor authentication

A type of multi-factor authentication providing an extra layer of security. It requires not only a password and username but also an additional piece of information which can often be verified through an authenticator app on a user’s mobile device.

To cancel a subscription to an electronic mailing list or online service.
URL Uniform Resource Locator

A URL is the address of a specific webpage or file on the Internet.

A person who regularly records and posts videos online via social media or video sharing sites like YouTube. Popular vlogs include ones about lifestyle and gaming.

A computer virus is a type of malicious software (“malware”) that, when executed, replicates itself by modifying other computer programs and inserting its own code. Infected computer programs can include data files, or the “boot” sector of the hard drive.
Voice activated search

Also known as ‘voice search’ or ‘voice-enabled search’. When a search tool allows the user to use a voice command to search the Internet, a website, or an app.
VPN (Virtual Private Network)

A method used to add security and privacy to private and public networks, like WiFi Hotspots and the Internet. VPNs are often used by corporations to protect sensitive data.
VR (Virtual Reality)

A simulated experience usually found within gaming that can be similar to or completely different from the real world.

A video camera connected to the internet that allows users to broadcast live video or take and share photographs. Webcams can be used with computers and are often built into laptops, tablets and smartphones.