A Parent's Glossary to Basic Online Terms

Laptop and padlock

The Internet has certainly brought us a number of new opportunities and technology, and with these things also come new terms. Anindita Mishra is the Cyber Mom at Intel Security and put together an excellent reference on cyber terms for parents. Cyber vocabulary is growing all of the time, and as parents, it is important that all of us know what these words mean. Below is a glossary to common Internet terms, as well as safety information about each of them for parents.

Website and Webpage

A website is a collection of webpages, and each webpage has a URL (Uniform Resource Locator) which is a unique address.

Safety Tips:

  • Keep a content filter turned on at all times. This helps to control inappropriate matter.
  • Activate parental controls to restrict access to certain websites.

URL (Uniform Resource Locator)

A URL is a web address for a webpage. For instance, the URL for Google is http://www.google.com.

Safety Tips:

  • Know which websites are secure and which are not. A safe website will have an "s" at the end of the http. Example: https://www.google.com.
  • Look for a green padlock on the address bar of your web browser. This indicates that the website is also safe.

Web Browser

A computer program that allows users to access information from the Internet. Some popular web browsers include Safari, Google Chrome, and Mozilla Firefox.

Safety Tip:

  • Allow pre-teens to use a kid-friendly browser to protect them, but still give them Internet access.


    A folder on your computer where web pages are stored. When visiting a page the first time, the computer saves the page for faster loading in the future.

    Safety Tip:

    • Clear the cache occasionally, especially when the computer begins to slow down, the browser malfunctions or the webpage looks corrupted.


      A cookie is a message from a website or server that the browser stores on the computer. A cookie may track, authenticate or maintain information, such as user preferences.

      Safety Tip:

      • Use browser security features to block cookies from some third parties. Cookies can become harmful in some cases, as they may share personal information.


      A plug-in is a program that is part of the browser, which allows it to interact with other files, such as a sound file, Word document or movie file.

      Safety Tip:

      • Before installing a plug-in, make sure the publisher is legitimate. It is possible that a plug-in could infect your system and steal personal information.


      A bot, short for "robot," is a computer that has malicious software that is infecting it. When this occurs, a computer may turn into a "zombie," which can then be operated by someone else, remotely.

      Safety Tips:

      • Do not open any email attachment from people you do not know, and make sure you verify any attachment is free of malware.
      • Ignore pop-ups, ads, and messages that seem too good to be true, as this information is most likely spam. 
      • Install security software on all Internet-enabled devices, and choose automatic updates instead of manual ones. This ensures the device is safe at all times.
      • Avoid opening any attached file with .exe at the end. Be careful of .zip files too as .zip files are compressed and contain files that are actually viruses have that have the .exe within.


      A firewall is a type of virtual wall that is built between the Internet and your computer. This wall protects the computer from access that is not authorized by you, and it blocks any suspicious content.

      Safety Tip:

      • Keep your firewall on all of the time
      • Scan external drives, such as CD's and pen drives, before using them with your computer.

      These are just a few of the most popular terms that you may hear your children using when talking about computers and networks. With this information, you can have a bit of clarity about what your children may be up when on the Internet, and how to keep them safe.