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CareCo How To… Guide – Online Terms Defined

Does modern technology confuse you? Astounded by the internet? Do you want to take part but don’t know where to start? Then the CareCo How To… Guide series is here to help!

In contrast to our last few guides, today’s focuses on complex, long-winded internet or technology-based words and their definitions. No matter your age or computer ‘fluency’ we can all get caught up in what certain phrases mean, especially when something goes wrong and we’re already on edge! We’ve compiled a list of the most common terms you’ll come across and their definitions, all written in plain English.

Address
When you’re online ‘Address’ can refer to two things:

  • Your home address: this will appear if you’re filling in a form for a new account or if you’re shopping.
  • Your e-mail address: this will be in reference to your e-mail address, typically when you’re logging into a website.

Adware
Free software supported by advertisements. The software can include toolbars that run at the top of your internet browser enabling you to make searches faster and easier.

Android
The mobile phone operating system run by Google. ‘Android’ is the nickname typically given to phones that rival Apple’s iPhone series. Apps can be downloaded from Google’s Android Market, its online software store.

Anti-spyware
Software that protects your computer from spyware, pop-ups and other security threats. Anti-spyware can also increase and boost performance.

Anti-virus
Similar to anti-spyware, anti-virus software prevents your computer from being infected with online viruses.

Apps
Abbreviation for ‘applications’. Apps are the software programmes you download and use on your computer/tablet/smartphone, from social networking sites to games and entertainment channels. There are thousands of apps to choose from, some free, some charged for.

Browser
Software installed to browse the internet. Browser names include Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Firefox and Safari, among others.

Dashboard
The ‘first stop’ once you’ve logged into a website. For example, when shopping on certain websites you’ll have the option to view your Profile Dashboard, where you’ll be able to change and save your personal details.

EmailE-mail
Electronic, online mail that you can send from yourself to other users.

Emoticon/Emoji
Text-based faces or symbols that show your feelings.

Facebook
Popular social network website. Connect with friends and family, share photos and videos, and post how you’re feeling or what’s going on in your life.

Firewall
Prevents unauthorized access to your computer via the internet.

Malware
Malicious software. Software designed to damage or disable your computer. Common forms of malware include viruses, spyware, trojan horses (the infection ‘hides’ inside software you’ve downloaded) and worms. Malware can cause an endless list of problems but can be prevented through anti-virus software.

Operating System
The software that manages everything else on your computer/smartphone/tablet.

Phishing
‘Phishing’ is the act of drawing in users to counterfeit websites in the hopes of obtaining personal information illegally. Phishing is a type of fraud and identity theft that can put your details at risk.

QuickTime
Software designed by Apple that enables users to play videos and films online.

Refresh
A command that reloads/’refreshes’ a window or web page. Particularly helpful if the page has ‘crashed’ (stopped working).

Router
A piece of hardware that connects one or more computers/tablets/phones to an broadband internet connection (wireless internet).

Smartphone
A type of mobile phone equipped with software that enables it to connect to the internet, download apps, make video calls and perform many other tasks.Smartphone

Spam
Junk mail, similar to that which might be posted through your front door. Unwanted or unsolicited mail.

Spyware
Unwanted software that ‘spies’ on your computer. Can affect performance and monitor your documents/what you do online. Can also make your computer a potential target for criminals.

Tablet
A touch-screen portable computer system. Examples include the Apple iPad or Amazon Kindle Fire.

URL
Uniform Resource Locator – the specific address used to locate a website e.g. www.careco.co.uk / www.facebook.co.uk / www.ebay.co.uk.

Virus
Software programmes that infect computers, typically via the internet. You can contract a virus by visiting malicious websites or by downloading suspicious files. The virus can affect performance, spread from computer to computer, and can even delete files and share your personal details online.

Webcam
Webcams can be built into your computer/laptop screen or be purchased separately. They enable you to video chat with family and friends across the globe via an internet connection.

Wireless (WiFi)
WiFi connects your computer/tablet/smartphone to the internet without the use of cables and wires. Connections are normally available in shops, restaurants and coffee shops to allow you to browse the internet when out and about.

Next time: discover the best internet browser for you.