Understanding digital jargon

digital jargon

The things you need to know, explained clearly and simply…

3G / 4G - 3rd and 4th generation mobile communications offering advanced features, such as email, video calls, mobile TV etc.

4G+ - The next generation mobile communications network offering faster internet connection speeds and more advanced features

Android - The software operating system, designed by Google, which is used to run many smartphones and tablets. Other operating systems include Apple’s iOS and Microsoft Windows

App / application - A piece of software, often designed to run on smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices, which allows users to play games, read, use social network sites, watch video etc.

Broadband - High-speed internet connection; it could be fixed (using fibre-optic or telephone cables) or mobile (3G / 4G / 4G+)

Browser - A programme or app which allows access to the web (e.g. Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari)

Cortana - A voice control system (see below) which can be used to control various feature on devices running Microsoft operating systems – laptops, tablets and smartphones

Cyberbullying - Using the internet, in particular social media, email or messaging, to deliberately threaten or humiliate someone

Facebook - A social networking website

“Fake news” - While not a new idea, the phrase “fake news” hit the headlines repeatedly in 2017 and continues to do so. While, on the surface, it means reports and information which is false, it has frequently been used to describe any facts or opposing views that the speaker wishes to discredit

Fingerprint scanner - An increasingly common security feature on modern smartphones, an inbuilt scanner uses the user’s unique fingerprint to unlock the phone, open passcode-protected apps and make secure payments

Fitness tracker - An example of “wearable tech”, fitness or exercise trackers are used to display and record data related to physical activity. Depending on the type of device, this data might include counting steps, heartrate, distance traveled, average speed and more. Fitness trackers are often designed to be worn on the wrist, and many smart watches (see below) include fitness tracking features

Geo-tagging - Where geographical identification data, e.g. time and location, is added to things like photos or online messages via a GPS-enabled device such as a smartphone

Google - Pre-eminent search engine

Google Assistant - The voice control system found on devices running the Android operating system which allows users to use natural speech to operate various functions on their internet-enabled devices

GPS - Global Positioning System – a global navigation satellite system used for things like in-car navigation and smartphone location services

Grooming - The process of befriending a child online with the intent of sexually abusing them

Hacker - Someone who breaks into other people’s computers

Identity theft - Where someone pretends to be somebody else for financial or other personal gain

In-app purchase - Additional content and features available for purchase once you're using an app

Instant Messaging - The process of sending short real-time messages over the internet

Instagram - A social networking website and app focused on photo and video sharing

“Internet of Things” - A phrase used to describe the increasing range of internet-connected technology, from smartphones and tablets to motor vehicles, home appliances, security cameras and even transport systems

iPhone - An Apple smartphone with built-in music player, video camera, mobile internet and email

ISP - Internet Service Provider – a company that offers users access to the internet

LinkedIn - A business-focused social networking site aimed at professionals

Location services - A feature of smartphones which uses the handset’s built in GPS to track the location of the phone. This may be used for security features like “Find my iPhone” in case a handset is lost, or by apps and websites like Instagram, Facebook and shopping websites. The information may be used to geo-tag photographs or to generate location-specific advertising such as nearby shops or restaurants. Location services can be controlled using privacy settings

Login details - The credentials you use to access a computer or website (e.g. username and password)

Microsoft - Software company with products including the Windows operating system and Xbox games consoles

Nintendo - Manufacturer of DS and Wii games consoles

Parental controls - Tools that help parents to protect their children online and on other devices (e.g. by controlling which websites they can visit or from whom they can receive email)

Password - A secret combination of letters, symbols and numbers used to prove your identity when you log on to your computer or a particular website

Paywall - A website feature which prevents users from accessing some or all of the content of the site. “Soft walls” allow the user to access a limited number of pages before they must pay a subscription, whereas “hard walls” require the user to register and pay straight away

Phishing - Unsolicited emails or texts sent in an attempt to get personal information from you (e.g. passwords and credit card details)

PlayStation 3 / 4 - Games consoles manufactured by Sony

Pop-up - A form of advertising on the web that ‘pops up” in a new browser window

Privacy settings / controls - Tools provided by some internet and social networking providers to help you maintain your privacy online

Profile - A description of a user on a social network which may include their name, age, location, interests etc. Profile information can be public or private depending on the user’s privacy settings

Search engine - A tool that allows users to search millions of websites for information on the web (e.g. Google, Yahoo, Microsoft Bing)

Siri - Apple’s voice control system found on iPhones and iPads. By holding the home button or saying, “Hey, Siri!” the user can command their device to complete internet searches, open apps, make calls, send messages and more

Smart watch - While the phrase “Smart watch” can cover multiple devices from GPS units to fitness trackers, it is typically used to describe a watch that connects wirelessly to a smartphone. Smart watches allow users to control various functions on their phone such as answering and making calls, playing music and tracking exercise

Smartphone - A mobile phone that performs many of the functions of a computer and can connect to the internet. Smartphones allow users to play games, listen to music, watch video and access social networking sites

SnapChat - A social networking app which allows users to send short videos and photographs to a chosen list of recipients. Once received, the length of time for which each ‘snap’ can be viewed is between 1-10 seconds before it is deleted

Social networking - Social networking allows users to connect with other people over the internet. They can exchange messages, photographs, videos and more. Examples are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Vine

Streaming - A way of delivering data such a music or video over the internet to a computer, tablet or smartphone

Tablet - A mobile computer, such as the Apple iPad or Samsung Galaxy Tab

Twitter / Tweet - A social-networking service which allows users to send and read ‘Tweets’ – short messages which may include images – www.twitter.com

Voice control - A service on an internet-enabled device which lets the user speak to control various features, from internet searches to calls and text messages. Notable examples are Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana and Google Assistant

Website - A page or group of pages on the internet which can be accessed on a computer, tablet or smartphone using a web browser

Wifi - Broadband without wires which uses radio waves to connect an enabled device to the internet

World Wide Web / Web - A global system of powerful computers (servers) that host websites that can be accessed from a web browser

YouTube - A video-sharing service that allows users to post and watch videos online