How to explain today's tech lingo to your kids
Technology and language are both constantly evolving – the name we used for something when we were kids may be different for our kids today. This article will spell out some of the most common technology terms for kids in ways that they’ll understand, plus some terms that we need to know as well as parents of older kids.
Any piece of electronics equipment, usually something handheld.
A portable computer with a screen you can touch and interact with. It’s usually larger than a phone but smaller than a laptop.
- Smart (device)
A device is “smart” when it’s connected to other devices in some way. A smartphone is smart because it connects to the internet, and can connect to other smartphones.
All the physical parts of a computer or piece of electronic equipment.
All the non-physical parts that make a computer or device run properly, including all the instructions to make it work.
What we connect to when we go online. It’s everything that’s available when many computers are connected together.
Wireless internet! This is available in a specific area where computers and other devices can connect to use the internet without plugging in a cable.
A way for different devices to connect wirelessly like connecting your phone to a speaker to play music.
A web address, or the name of a website you put in to access it.
Operating system, or a piece of software that forms the link between a computer or device’s hardware and all its other functions.
Any piece of software on a device that’s for a specific purpose, like a camera app, instant messaging app, or anything else.
- Social media
All the communication and content in online communities, usually on different apps like TikTok, Instagram, and others.
All the videos, images, and text that we see or create online, whether that’s on YouTube, Netflix, Wikipedia, or others.
When content is broadcast directly to your device through the internet.
All the information on a computer, and depending on what we’re talking about, all the information about you on the internet.
This is where all the data “lives” on the internet so it can be accessed easily from your phone or computer without plugging anything in.
A name that you use to create an account or log in to any service online.
The secret key to get into any of your accounts that’s made up of letters, numbers, and symbols. Sometimes it’s a word or phrase, and sometimes it’s a jumble of characters.
This is a way to make data safer by securing it with a kind of secret code.
Not just a delicious treat – this is a piece of data on a website that serves many functions like remembering your password from last time or tracking certain activities while you browse.
This is an app that you use to browse the internet! Popular browsers include Safari, Chrome, and Firefox.
This is a window in a browser that’s tucked into an existing window so you can have multiple pages open at once on the internet in one window. We have too many of these open sometimes!
This is a special set of instructions used to determine some next step while using a piece of software. For example, an algorithm on YouTube determines what video will play next if you don’t choose one yourself.
This is how we make computers and devices do what we want them to do. It’s a language we use to give instructions to computers.
This is another word for writing code.
This is short for internet service provider, or the company that provides internet to your house or wherever you are.
- Search engine
A website or online tool that searches the internet for information, usually in the form of another website, images, or videos. For example, Google is the most common search engine, so we often say we “Google” something to search for it online.
This is when bullying or harassment happens online. For example, someone could say something mean or inconsiderate about someone else over instant messaging or post something hurtful on social media.
This stands for augmented reality, which is when there’s a computer-generated experience placed on top of the real world. Basically it’s when we use a device to see additional things from a computer on top of what we see with our eyes
This stands for virtual reality, which is when we engage with a completely computer-generated world by using devices like VR goggles over our eyes.
This is the whole universe of all the virtual reality worlds out there.
Any piece of content from the internet that gets copied and spread quickly and/or becomes a part of culture.
Short for cryptocurrency, or a type of money or monetary value that exists entirely online.
This stands for user interface, or all the space where we interact with things on computers and devices.
This stands for user experience, which is how we interact with computers and devices.
Short for instant messaging, which is when you’re talking directly to someone or a group of people online.
Short for direct message, or when you send a private message directly to one person on an app.
A word or phrase with # attached to it on social media, which labels content with a certain topic.
Someone on social media who promotes products or services to their followers.
This is how we describe something that becomes super popular super quickly online.