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Glossary of terms

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abhorrent violent conduct material

Abhorrent violent conduct material shows or encourages acts including terrorism, murder, attempted murder, suicide, torture, rape, and kidnapping that uses or threatens violence.


Find out more about illegal and restricted online content.

acceptable use policy

Acceptable use policies are documents created by education systems or schools to outline what is acceptable behaviour when using computer facilities and other technologies such as mobile phones.

ADSL internet access

ADSL, short for 'asymmetric digital subscriber line', is a way of accessing the internet that allows more data to be sent over existing copper telephone lines than standard 'DSL'. Until recently, most Australian homes accessed broadband internet via an ADSL connection through their internet service provider (ISP).


With the ongoing rollout, consumers can now move to the National Broadband Network (NBN), which uses fibre optic cables and other technologies.

adult cyber abuse

Adult cyber abuse is when the internet is used to send, post or share content that is harmful to the physical or mental health of a person who is 18 or older.


Find out more about adult cyber abuse.

adult industry 

Commercial enterprises (individuals, businesses or peak bodies) involved in the sale or purchase of sex-related entertainment services.


Adware is generally unwanted software that hides on a user’s device and displays advertisements on their screen – often monitoring their behaviour to target them with specific ads. Adware is commonly bundled in when installing 'free' software. It can be considered a form of malware due to the performance impact from system resource consumption (CPU, RAM).

age assurance

The broad range of processes that can be used to establish or predict the age (or age range) of an individual. Examples include self-reported (for example stating your year of birth), confirmation of age by another person (for example a parent or peer), use of biometric information (for example face, fingerprint or voice recognition), or use of behavioural or online signals (for example digital traces or gesture patterns).

age verification

Age verification is a subset of age assurance. It is a technical process that confirms the age of a person using their personally identifiable information. Examples include tokens or licences, third party verification, government e-ID systems.


In computing terms, a set of instructions or formula, used to solve problems or perform tasks based on the understanding of available alternatives.


In online terms, Android means an open-source operating system used for smartphones and tablets.


Anonymity and identity shielding allow a user to hide or disguise their identifying information online.


Information like their real name, age, location and data-use can be hidden, which gives the user anonymity and protects their privacy. Anonymous communication is seen by many as a cornerstone of promoting freedom of speech, expression and privacy on the internet, but it can also be misused to control and abuse people.


Find out more about anonymity. 


An application or software filter designed to detect and remove computer viruses and other malware.


Short for 'application', an app is similar to a computer program, but is designed to work on the small screen of a smartphone or tablet. Some apps don't need the internet to work, but many apps do.

app distribution service providers

Distribution services enable end-users to download apps for mobile devices and other internet-enabled devices, such as smart TVs, gaming consoles and computers. Examples include app stores such as Google Play, Apple’s App Store, the Microsoft Store and Steam.

artificial intelligence

The concept of programming that allows computers and other digital devices to make decisions without the help of humans. Machine learning attempts to bring reality as close as possible to the concept of artificial intelligence.


An avatar is an icon or picture that someone chooses to use online instead of a photo of themselves.

back up

To make a secondary copy of your important documents in case something goes wrong. For example, you can back up your digital files by saving them onto an external hard drive or the cloud.


Bandwidth refers to the amount of data that can be sent through an internet connection. It is usually measured in bits-per-second (bps). The higher the bandwidth, the faster users can access webpages, stream videos or download files.

Basic Online Safety Expectations

The Basic Online Safety Expectations are a key element of the Online Safety Act. They articulate the Government’s robust expectations for social media services, messaging services, gaming services and other apps and sites accessible from Australia, with a focus on making sure these services take reasonable steps to keep Australians safe.


Find out more about the Basic Online Safety Expectations.


BitTorrent is a peer-to-peer (P2P) protocol – a way to communicate information – that enables internet users to share content like videos and audio files. It allows users to simultaneously upload and download parts of a file they want from several other internet users who are also sharing the same file.


A blockchain is a form of database that stores data in chronological groups, known as blocks, instead of folders and tables like normal databases. No single person, group or authority controls the data or transactions, which are recorded with a cryptographic signature called a hash.

blocking a user

Blocking a user refers to situations where one person stops another person from communicating with them on a website or online service by changing a setting. Many online forums and web-based email services provide the ability to 'block' users so that you cannot see their messages.

blocking request or notice

A blocking request (or notice) asks (or requires) an internet service provider to take one or more specific steps to disable access to abhorrent violent conduct material.


Originally, a blog was an online journal or series of articles and a blogpost was an individual entry or article. Now ‘blog’ is commonly used to refer to both.


Bluetooth is a wireless networking technology that enables data to be transferred between devices that are close together but not physically connected, such as between a smartphone and a laptop computer, or between a smartphone and wireless headphones.


Online bookmarks are similar to paper bookmarks in that they serve as placeholders to help you locate a page or website later. Web browsers let you ‘bookmark’ or ‘favourite’ any page so you can go straight to it at any time.


Sometimes referred to as high-speed internet, broadband is an 'always on' fast connection to the internet. It can be provided via fibre optic (as with the NBN), or ADSL, DSL or wireless infrastructure.


A browser is a program that lets users move around, or browse, the internet. Also known as a web browser, it is the main way to access the internet, and allows users to view and interact with information online. Some of the most popular browsers are Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer, and Edge.


A working storage or memory space for files to allow for quicker loading. For example, web browsers hold copies of recently visited websites to avoid repeatedly transferring the same static data and only download any changes.


When someone, known as a ‘capper’, uses screen capture software to take a picture or a video of a person engaging in intimate or sexual activity online.


It is also a common slang term that means to lie or lying.


Catfishing means luring someone into a relationship using a fake online identity, often to scam them.


Find out more about catfishing.

chat room

A chat room is a website or online service where people with similar interests can meet and communicate. Users need to register to join a chat room and any messages they post can be seen by everyone in that chat room. 


Users can enter an unmoderated or poorly moderated chat room without anyone checking their real identity, so they can pretend to be someone they are not (such as an adult pretending to be a child).

child sexual exploitation material/child sexual abuse material

Child sexual exploitation material is any content that sexualises and takes unfair advantage of a child or young person under 18, including child sexual abuse material that shows their sexual assault.


An attention-grabbing headline with a link that takes you to information that is misleading or not as interesting as it sounds, usually designed to show you advertising.

cloud computing

Cloud computing is running programs and services over the internet on equipment owned by someone else. An example is an online service that allows you to upload and store photos online – in 'the cloud' – so you can access them as needed from a computer, smartphone, tablet or other device.

coercion/coercive control

To pressure or scare an unwilling person to do something (or avoid doing something) by using force or threats. Coercive control can be part of domestic and family violence and a contributing factor in adult cyber abuse. It is often part of a pattern of domination that includes tactics to isolate, degrade, exploit and control victims.

content sharing services

Apps or websites that allow users to share content, including written information, comments, images and videos.


Use the ‘content sharing’ filter in The eSafety Guide for a comprehensive list of services.


When you visit a website, the site sends a small file to your computer to keep track of your visits and activity. For example, if you shop online a cookie can keep track of the items in your shopping cart. Without cookies, your shopping cart would empty each time you clicked a new link on the site.


Consent is when someone agrees to something. This agreement must be 'express' – which means it must be given clearly, (either verbally or in writing), it must be voluntary, and must be informed.


Consent may imply a sexual meaning (such as ‘age of consent’) or a non-sexual meaning (such as consent to receive marketing materials).


Cyberbullying is the use of technology to bully someone – to deliberately and repeatedly engage in hostile behaviour to hurt them socially, psychologically or even physically.


This term specifically refers to the online abuse of children and young people aged 18 and under. Groups and individuals can be both the perpetrators and targets of cyberbullying, (which is also known as 'online bullying').


Cyberbullying can take place on social media, through online chat and messaging services, text messages, emails, on message boards and in online forums that allow people to comment publicly. Young people may also refer to this behaviour as 'creating drama' and 'saying mean things'.


Find out more about cyberbullying.

cyber abuse

See adult cyber abuse.

cyber attack

An infiltration or blocking of an internet connected system or network with the intent to cause damage or disruption or gain unauthorised access to information.


Cyberstalking is when someone keeps constant track of a person online in a way that makes them feel uncomfortable, worried or threatened.


Find out more about cyberstalking.


dark social

Dark social refers to the hidden shares that happen through private channels that can’t be tracked by web analytics. It includes sharing by email, text message, or a direct message sent through a social media site or online game.

dark web

The dark web is a collection of websites that require specific software and encryption to access them and is typically used for illegal online activity. The dark web forms a portion of the deep web that is intentionally hidden from search engines and web browsers.


Raw information that is collected and used for reference or analysis. In computing, data may be stored or transmitted in various formats or structured protocols that allow for it to be interpreted and processed by systems or services for output and consumption by various technologies and devices.


A 'deepfake' is an extremely realistic – though fake – image or video that shows a real person doing or saying something that they did not actually do or say. Deepfakes are created using artificial intelligence software that draws on a large number of photos or recordings of the person. Deepfakes have been used to create fake news, celebrity pornographic videos and malicious hoaxes.


Find out more about deepfakes.

deep web

Content in the deep web is not indexed by search engines. It consists of things like the content of company intranet websites, or information otherwise secured behind web portals requiring authorised access.

designated internet service providers

Designated internet services are online services that allow end-users to access internet material or that deliver internet material to end-users. Examples include websites (excluding social media, email, chat, messaging, online gaming and dating sites), and consumer cloud storage such as iCloud, Dropbox, OneDrive and Google Drive.

digital environments, services and platforms

Online spaces that may allow access to and uploading, distribution and sharing of online content.

These include, but are not limited to, social media services, designated internet services, or relevant electronic services (as defined in the Online Safety Act 2021), as well as search engines and gaming platforms.

digital footprint

Refers to the information about a particular person that exists on the internet as a result of their online activity.


Find out more about your digital reputation.

digital hygiene

This term refers to the practices and behaviours related to cleaning up and maintaining digital devices to minimise cyber risks. Practicing good digital hygiene involves regularly updating operating systems and clearing obsolete or unused data, as well as using passphrases that follow security protocols, organising files stored on the device and optimising settings

direct message

A private mode of communication between social media users. Often shortened to ‘DM’.

domestic and family violence

Domestic and family violence includes violent, abusive, threatening or coercive behaviour towards a partner or former partner to control them. It can happen at home or outside the home.


Find out more about domestic and family violence.


Doomscrolling or doomsurfing is when users habitually scroll through negative news articles, social media posts and other content. This can have negative impacts on wellbeing.


To download an online music file, video, document or photo means to transfer it from a website to your computer or other digital device.


Doxing is the intentional online exposure of an individual’s identity, private information or personal details without their consent.


Sharing the information publicly undermines the target’s privacy, security, safety and/or reputation. Often those responsible for doxing urge others to use the information to harass the person targeted.


Find out more about doxing.

Easy Read

Easy Read combines text with layout and imagery to simplify and explain information. The aim of Easy Read is to give more people access to information. It is a way to present information for people who are not familiar with English, or who have low literacy or learning disability.


Get online safety help in Easy Read format.

echo chamber

An echo chamber, also known as a filter bubble, is an environment where a person mostly encounters information or opinions that reflect and reinforce their own. An online echo chamber can develop when a user only follows or interacts with like-minded people, or when recommender systems keep serving content that aligns with the user's search and engagement history.

emoticons, emojis

The term 'emoticon' is derived from 'emotion' and 'icon'. Emoticons are a shorthand way of showing a feeling online using keyboard characters. For example :-) for a happy face or :-( for a sad face. Emojis have a similar function but use small pictures instead of keyboard characters.

end-to-end encryption

End-to-end encryption is a method of secure communication that allows only the people communicating with each other to read the messages, images or files being exchanged.


Popular examples of interactive services that use end-to-end encryption are WhatsApp, Signal, Skype and Telegram – all cross-platform messaging and VoIP voice call services.


An end-user is the person who actually uses a piece of software or an online service.

end-user licence agreement

An end-user license agreement gives the user the right to use an application.

end-user notice

In the context of eSafety's cyberbullying and image-based abuse complaints schemes, this is a formal legal notice issued by eSafety to a user who has posted cyberbullying material or intimate images without consent. The notice can require that the person remove the image or material, stop posting further cyberbullying material and apologise.


In an online context, engagement means measurable user interaction with content, particularly on social media sites. Measured interactions may include likes, comments and shares.


eSport is competitive gaming, usually with multiplayer video games played by professionals.

fake news

This is false information that has been created in a way that makes it look like a trustworthy news report.


Find out more about fake news.


See bookmark.


A feed, sometimes referred to as a newsfeed, is the homepage section of a social media platform that continuously updates with a list of content from people and pages that the user follows or subscribes to. Often it will also include advertisements targeted towards the user.

fight video

A fight video is a recording of a person physically assaulting another person. For example, by pushing, punching, hitting or kicking them.


In online terms, a filter is a way to manage access to content. For example, a filter may limit a user’s searched content according to approved categories, block topics, or impose age-appropriate restrictions.


Self-selected or parental filters on devices, accounts or networks can restrict online access to certain times of day or restrict what users can view and download based on certain keywords or types of content. Some filters block specific content such as pornography. System-level filters may also be used by schools, organisations and companies.

filter bubble

See echo chamber.


This is a combination of the words 'fake' and 'insta' (short for Instagram). A 'finsta' is a fake Instagram account that people use to post content that is different to their real Instagram account. This content may be more spontaneous, intimate or revealing.


A 'finsta' can also be used to abuse people while pretending to be another person. 


Freeware is software that is free to download.


global positioning system (GPS)

A system of worldwide navigation that uses satellites to pinpoint an exact location. GPS is essential to the function of location-based services and the ability to 'check in' on social media.

Google, google

‘Google’ is a search engine technology company. The term ‘google’ is commonly used to mean using a search engine to find content on the internet.


Grooming is when an adult deliberately establishes an emotional connection with a child in order to lower their inhibitions, to make it easier to have sexual contact with them. It may involve an adult posing as a child in an online game or on a social media site to befriend a child and encourage them to behave sexually online or to meet in person.


Find out more about grooming and unwanted contact.


A hacker is someone who accesses a computer system without authorisation, usually to disrupt the system, steal information or carry out destructive or malicious acts.


Hardware, or computer hardware, is the physical components of a computer system, such as the circuitry, screen and keyboard (as opposed to software).

hash, hashing

Hashing is a one-way cryptographic function that generates a summarised character string, known as a hash, from a data record. For example, a hash of an email address may be used to search in a database without sharing the content. A data record can be a word, a sentence, a longer text or an entire file. 


A hashtag is a word or phrase that starts with a crosshatch symbol (#). It identifies a post on a specific topic on social media. Popular hashtags include #fashion and #PhotoOfTheDay. Hashtags allow people to easily find and follow topics they are interested in.


The introductory page of a website. Sometimes also used to mean a webpage set as the default or start-up page on a browser.

hosting service providers

These services host stored internet material in data centres for provision on other services. They include services such as Hostinger, Siteground and VentraIP.

hyperlink, hypertext link

A hyperlink, or hypertext link, is any text or graphic on a website that, when you click on it, takes you to another part of the same webpage or a different webpage. Hyperlinks often appear underlined or as text in a different colour.

identity shielding

See anonymity.

illegal and restricted online content

Illegal and restricted online content refers to online content that ranges from the most seriously harmful material, such as videos showing the sexual abuse of children or acts of terrorism, through to content which is inappropriate for children, such as online pornography.


Find out more about illegal and restricted online content.

image-based abuse

Sharing, or threatening to share, an intimate image or video without the consent of the person shown.


Find out more about image-based abuse.

immersive technologies

Immersive technologies enable a user to experience and interact in three-dimensions (3D) with digital content in a way that looks, sounds and feels almost real. These technologies include augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), mixed reality (MR) and haptics (interaction involving touch).


Find out more about immersive technologies.


An influencer is a person with loyal followers on social media who uses their popularity to get others to copy them or their opinions, or buy the products and services they promote.

information and communications technology (ICT)

ICT is the term used to describe all the hardware and software that allows data to be digitally processed, stored and communicated.

instant message

Instant message refers to sending private messages from one computer or device to another. Many programs also allow messages to be shared with a group.

International Mobile Equipment Identifier (IMEI)

An IMEI is a 15-digit number which uniquely identifies a wireless device such as a mobile phone. The IMEI is usually found on a sticker inside the device or by entering *#06# on the keypad. To stop the device being used when lost or stolen, you can ask your service provider to block your IMEI.


The internet is a global computer network which allows a range of information to be shared across the world. It is also referred to as the 'web' or 'world wide web'.

internet-enabled device

A device that is connected to the internet via wi-fi, 3G, 4G or 5G mobile, or a physical cable connection.

Internet of Things

Everyday objects (or ‘smart’ devices) with embedded internet connectivity that allow its functions to be controlled remotely and data to be sent and received from them.

For example, a fridge that alerts its owner when items are used up, or an infant monitor that sends information about a baby's condition to the phone of the parents. 

internet service provider (ISP)

An ISP is a company that provides access to the internet for home and business users. For a monthly fee, a service provider enables people to log onto the internet and, among other activities, browse the internet and send/receive email.


Intersectionality refers to the interconnected nature of various aspects of a person's identity (such as gender, race, religion, sexuality, physical ability and appearance) that may create overlapping discrimination or disadvantage and potentially compound it.

intimate image

Images and videos are usually classed as intimate if they show a person nude or partly naked, with private parts of their body in close up (even if they have underwear on), during a private activity such as showering or having sex, or without the religious or cultural clothes or accessories they would normally wear in public (such as a hijab).


The images or videos can be real or fake (for example, a photoshopped image or deepfake, or a nude photo tagged with someone’s name even though it’s not them).



Keylogging is the use of either a rogue device (hardware) installed on a USB, computer keyboard or spyware program (software) to record every keystroke typed by the user. This is used to steal information such as passphrases, credit card numbers and bank account details.


Keywords are words that describe the main content of a webpage.

live streaming

Live streaming refers to online media that is simultaneously recorded and broadcast in real time to the viewer. All you need to be able to live stream is an internet-enabled device, like a smartphone or tablet, and a platform (such as website or app) to broadcast on.


Live streaming is different to video calling as it does not allow two-way audio and video communication.

location-based services

Location-based services use GPS technology so users can report their physical location to others via social media or apps on their mobile phone. Some apps use location-based services to help users navigate a route, or find places like restaurants or the nearest chemist.


Sometimes, location services are turned on by default, which means others can see where you are. This can be managed by changing the privacy and location settings.


To lurk is to listen in to a chat room or social media group without participating. Newcomers are sometimes encouraged to lurk for a while as they get the feel of a site and how it operates.


machine learning

Machine learning is an approach or effort that uses algorithms to process expanding data sets so computing systems can further expand and refine the outputs. The data sets are effectively the experiences that the systems 'learn' from. As machine learning improves, the systems may give the impression of approaching 'artificial intelligence'. 


Malware is short for ‘malicious software’, which collectively includes viruses, ransomware, trojans or spyware, or any form of other software or code with harmful intent.


Metadata, put simply, is data about data. It generally describes or consists of technical specifications that provide insight about digital data such as a file. For example, an image file may be tagged with metadata that helps with its categorisation and retrieval.

metaverse, Metaverse

The word ‘metaverse’ is used in more than one way.


Generic: A metaverse is a digital virtual world that parallels the physical world, where people can ‘live’, work, shop and interact as avatars. It mimics and builds on aspects of the physical world using technologies such as virtual reality, augmented reality, artificial intelligence, digital currencies and social media. The metaverse is sometimes called the next evolution of the internet.


Specific: The Metaverse is a marketing term for a virtual world developed by Meta (Facebook).


Misinformation is incorrect or misleading information presented as fact, either intentionally or unintentionally.


Find out more about fake news and misinformation.


A modem is an electronic device used to connect a computer to the internet. If the computer is part of a network – like a home wi-fi network – it connects to the modem via a network 'router'. The modem and router are often built into the same piece of equipment.


Some social media services and online chat rooms and forums assign moderators with special privileges to check and manage the content of conversations to ensure that users participate according to the site rules.


Moderators are often able to block both individual comments and users who do not participate appropriately. They generally aim to keep conversations on topic in an unbiased manner in line with the forum’s guidelines.

multi-factor authentication

A security practice of using two or more ways to confirm a user’s identity. This can be something they know (such as a password), something they have (such as a confirmation code from a text message or mobile app) or something they are (such as a fingerprint).


A network is a group of computers that can communicate with one another. It can be as small as two computers, or as large as billions of devices.


See feed.


Newsgroups are uncontrolled online forums grouped by topic, in which users can read and post messages including data files such as images and videos. Newsgroups are hosted on Usenet, a precursor protocol to the world wide web, and one of the first platforms for online discussion. Examples of newsgroups include and sci.research. Access to Usenet requires Newsreader software that reads the Network News Transfer Protocol (NNTP).

not-for-profit sector

Social enterprises, charities and other non-government organisations which provide social or human services or conduct related research that informs social policy. These include, but are not limited to, services that support the wellbeing of children and their families or carers.


This can refer to a person using the internet (for example, ‘going online’ or ‘searching online’), or to a device or service that operates using internet access or capability (for example, ‘online banking’).

online forums

An online forum is a message board for users to read and post questions or otherwise contribute to a discussion. They are useful for building online communities and bringing people together with similar interests. Moderated forums are the safest to use.

online service providers

Online service providers, often referred to as online platforms, are services that facilitate access to the internet for the purpose of online communication and interaction between people. This includes the manufacture, repair and maintenance of digital devices and technologies.

open source software

Open source is a collaborative licensing approach to software development where the programming code is freely available for everyone to use, modify and redistribute as new versions of the software, as long as all code is shared and remains freely available.



See update.

peer-to-peer (P2P) networking

Peer-to-peer applications run on a personal computer or other digital device and share files, such as music or videos, with other online users. Peer-to-peer networks connect individual computers together to share files instead of having to go through a central server.

personally identifiable information

Personally identifiable information is any piece of information, or ‘data’, that can help to confirm who someone is or how to find them. It may lead to identification of the person on its own or in context with other information.


Find out more about protecting your personally identifiable information and identity theft.


Phishing is the sending of fake emails to try to manipulate the receiver or obtain personal information from them. The emails often claim to be from a bank, online retailer, or credit card company.


Recipients may be directed to what appears to be a genuine website for the organisation or company, which encourages them to reveal financial details such as credit card numbers, account names and passwords, or other personal information.


See online service providers.


This refers to hardware that users can simply plug in and start using. It has been designed for most computers so that installation is seamless for the user.


A plug-in is a small piece of software that adds features to a larger piece of software. For example, an audio plug-in that allows your web browser to play music.

podcast and vodcast

A podcast is a recorded series of produced audio content segments or radio broadcasts, available online by streaming or download. The video version is a vodcast.


Pop-ups are small windows that appear in the foreground of a webpage. On some websites, they have been designed to serve a useful purpose. However, in many cases, they display advertising with fake buttons or links that trick users to go to unsafe websites and may result in malware being installed.


Material that contains sexually explicit descriptions or displays that are intended to create sexual excitement, including actual sexual intercourse or other sexual activity. 

portable hard disk drive

A portable hard disk drive is an external drive that is plugged into a port (connection point) on a computer. This is often a USB as these are the most common type of port used in current computers. Portable hard disks can store large amounts of data so users can backup or store important information and reduce storage space on an internal hard drive.


To post is to upload or 'share' photos, videos, text or other content online. This is commonly done on a social media site or a chat forum. The shared content itself is also known as a 'post'.

privacy policy

In online terms, a privacy policy outlines the way a website operator handles the personal information of its visitors. Privacy policies can often be found as a link in the footer section of a webpage.

private message

A private form of communication between users on a platform.

prohibited content

Online content considered ‘prohibited’ under Australia’s Broadcasting Services Act 1992 may include:


  • images of child sexual abuse
  • the promotion or instruction in paedophilic activity
  • sexually explicit content
  • gratuitous, detailed and high-impact depictions of real violence
  • content that supports doing a terrorist act
  • content providing detailed instruction about, or promoting, crime or violence.

Child sexual abuse material  and violent, explicit or criminal content can be reported to eSafety for action.


Ransomware is a type of malware that blocks or limits access to your computer or files, and demands a ransom be paid to the scammer in return for the computer or file being unlocked.

recommender systems

Recommender systems, also known as content curation systems, are systems designed to prioritise content or make personalised suggestions to users of online services. 


A key component of these systems is the recommender algorithm, the set of computing instructions that determines what a user will be served based on many factors (such as their demographic details and search history). This is done by applying machine learning techniques to data held by the service so it can identify user attributes and patterns.


Find out more about recommender systems and algorithms.

Restricted Access System

A Restricted Access System aims to limit the exposure of children and young people under 18 to pornography and other age-inappropriate online content.

revenge porn, revenge porn websites

‘Revenge porn’ is a commonly used term for image-based abuse because some people do it to hurt a person who has ended a relationship with them, or threaten to do it unless they stay together.


Revenge porn websites encourage users to upload intimate images of others without consent, often with information about the person pictured, such as their address and links to personal profiles. Demands for payment may be made in exchange for removal of the images. This is a form of image-based abuse.


See modem.

Safety by Design

Safety by Design is an eSafety initiative that places the safety and rights of users at the centre of the design, development and deployment of online products and services.


The initiative aims to assist industry to take a proactive and consistent approach to user safety when developing online products and services. It seeks to create stronger, healthier and more positive communities online by driving-up standards of user safety.


Scams are dishonest schemes that seek to take advantage of people to gain benefits such as money or access to personal details.


Find out more about online scams.

screen name

A name that someone chooses to use online instead of their real name.


An image showing the contents of a screen at a particular time.


Find out more about how to screenshot on different devices.

screen time

Time spent using a digital device with a screen.


Find out more about how to balance time online.

search engine services

These software-based services are designed to collect and rank information on the internet in response to user queries. Examples include Google Search, Microsoft Bing and Ask.


These services do not include search functionality within platforms where information can only be surfaced within the platform.


A server is a computer that provides data, or computer information, to other computers. This could be over a local area network (LAN) or a wide area network (WAN).

sexting or sending nudes

Sexting – more commonly known as 'sending nudes' or sometimes 'naked selfies' – refers to the sending of intimate photos, messages, or videos, generally using a mobile phone. Nudes are generally sent via text, private messaging apps or social media.


Find out more about sending nudes and sexting.

sexual extortion

If someone tries to blackmail a person over intimate images or videos of them, that’s a type of image-based abuse called sexual extortion, sometimes known as sextortion.


The blackmailer threatens to reveal intimate images of the person unless they give in to their demands. These demands are typically for money, cryptocurrency, gifts cards, online gaming credits or more intimate images.


Find out more about sexual extortion.


Shadowbanning is when an online community user's account or a feature of it (such as the ability to post or comment) is suspended or blocked without them being informed. For example, the user's posts may disappear from the public feed seen by others, or be delisted or downranked by the service so they are difficult to find, with the user potentially remaining unaware of any change.


This can mean to directly send content, for example by text message or email, or to repost someone else’s social media content.

smart device

An internet-enabled digital device, such as a phone or tablet, that can be connected to other digital devices or online networks and apps.


Stands for 'short message service', which is a way of sending short text messages – or 'texts' – between mobile devices. MMS, which stands for 'multimedia message service', allows users to send images, audio or videos as well as text.


Smartphones are mobile phones that have the functionality of a computer, as well as allowing users to make telephone calls. They can be used to send and receive emails, view webpages, take photos and videos, play games, listen to music, stream videos and more.

social networking

Social networking means communicating online with friends, and other contacts via social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.


Software is the collection of instructions that tells computer hardware devices how to run. This includes computer operating systems, programs and apps.


Unsolicited commercial electronic messages are known as spam. Under Australia's Spam Act 2003, spam includes email, instant messaging, SMS and MMS (text and image-based mobile phone messaging) of a commercial nature. It does not cover faxes, internet pop-ups or voice telemarketing.


Spoofing is creating a forged email that pretends to be from a legitimate sender. 


Spyware is a computer program installed without the permission of the owner, to monitor activities and collect information and send it to another source. 


It is a type of malware that can be used to steal sign-in details for secure websites such as online banking or collect video or audio using the infected devices camera.


To stream an audio or video file is to use an internet-connected computer or mobile device to listen to or watch material that is stored on a host site, without downloading it.

streaming service

An online service provider that allows users to play live or recorded media content (such as music, films and TV programs) on internet-enabled devices, without needing to download the content.


Swatting is the act of reporting a false crime or emergency to get a large number of police or emergency service responders to another person's address. Swatting occurs mainly in the online gaming community. It is also a tactic used by abusers to harass and intimidate the person they are targeting.


tag, tagging

A tag is a keyword or term used in metadata to describe and categorise a digitised item such as a picture, article or video clip. Tagging an item allows it to be found later by using a search engine.


Tagging is commonly used in databases or on social media sites and services, but can also be used for other online content categorisation. For example, a user may 'tag' a photo to identify it with their name, or 'tag' an online news article with the word ‘news’ so they can retrieve it by using that search term.

technology-facilitated abuse, tech abuse

Technology-facilitated abuse, sometimes called tech abuse, is where digital technology is used to enable, assist or amplify abuse or coercive control of a person or group of people.


Find out more about how to identify tech abuse.




A thread is series of messages on a web forum or social media discussion. It consists of an original message and all the replies that follow. People can respond to the original message or to each other in a 'threaded discussion'.


A trojan is a type of malware disguised as genuine software but when opened is used by cyber criminals to gain access to your device. They can then spy on the device or affect its performance by performing activities as part of a ‘botnet’ zombie network of thousands of computers used to send spam or perform other cyber attacks.


Trolling is when someone posts or comments online to deliberately provoke an argument or emotional reaction. Trolls may post anonymously or under a fake name, so they feel free to say things without being held responsible. They often try to downplay the impact of their behaviour, claiming anyone upset by it is overreacting.

trustless systems

Trustless systems, such as blockchain, use a decentralised model with no authoritative control. Users do not need to know or trust each other or a third party for the system to function.

two-factor authentication

See multi-factor authentication.

unwanted or unsafe contact

Unwanted or unsafe contact is any type of online communication that makes a person feel uncomfortable or unsafe. It can be with a stranger or someone known to the person.


Find out more about unwanted or unsafe contact.


An update or patch fixes a problem with a software program. Programmers release these to fix bugs, security vulnerabilities or compatibility issues. In most cases, software maintenance updates are free and may be automatically downloaded from the internet.


To upload is to transfer a file from your computer or device to another computer or system via the internet.


The act of taking a sexually intrusive photo or video under another person's clothing without their consent.


Someone who helps when they witness an incident, instead of merely being a bystander.


Find out more about how to be an upstander.


URL stands for a 'uniform resource locator', such as an address of a file or webpage. For example, the full URL for the eSafety homepage is


A Universal Serial Bus (USB) is a type of connection for attaching devices, such as a data storage flash drive, mouse, keyboard, printer or digital camera.

USB flash drive

A small plug-and-play device that uses flash memory to store data. It can be plugged into a computer or other device via a USB port. Also known as USB key, USB stick, thumb drive, flash drive or pen drive.


In online terms, a person who is an active participant of an online service or platform.


A username is the name a person chooses to be known by when using an online service. It is sometimes referred to as a 'handle'. When you sign up for a service such as a social media site, online game site or chat room, you are usually required to create a unique identifier — a 'username' — to identify yourself within that online environment.


Choosing something other than your own full name, such as 'maz123', helps to protect your identity.

user-generated content

User-generated content is any form of content – such as a text, post, image, video or reviews – created by an individual (not a brand, company or organisation) and posted or shared online.

victim blaming

Victim blaming is when the person targeted is assumed to be partially or wholly responsible for the harm they have experienced. For example, someone who has experienced image-based abuse may have consensually shared their intimate images with another person in the first place. However, it is not their fault if someone later shares or threatens to share their image without their consent.

video calling service

An online service that allows the participants to see each other as they talk using a device with a camera and a screen. Video calling can be one-on-one, but it can also involve multiple participants. 


Video calling is different to live streaming as it allows two-way audio and video communication between two or more locations. Examples of video calling services include FaceTime (for Apple devices), Skype and Zoom.

video sharing

Video sharing websites enable users to view and share video files. YouTube is a popular example of a video sharing website.

virtual reality

Virtual reality, often known as VR, is a combination of a headset and sensors used to simulate experiences and interact in virtual worlds. Examples include 3D flight simulators and first-person games where you feel as if you can see, hear and touch what is on your screen.


Find out more about immersive technology.

Virtual Classroom

The online space in which eSafety delivers a range of live webinars for schools.


A virus is a type of malicious software that is designed to copy itself and 'infect' computers. Viruses can lead to corrupted data and system failure.


Viruses are often disguised as something else so they can be transferred from one computer to another without the users knowing. They can be hidden in emails, on USBs or in files that are shared across the internet. Anti-virus software can be installed on computers to help scan for computer viruses and remove them.


See podcast.


'Voice over internet protocol' (VoIP) is a technology that allows voice to be transmitted using the same protocols – or sets of rules – that the internet uses. Skype, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, for example, all use VoIP technology to allow users to make calls.


A VPN, or 'virtual private network', is a service that securely tunnels a user’s connection across the internet, often to a different country, bypassing any filtering or monitoring. They are often used to hide the user’s location or online activities.



Short for ‘world wide web’, a connection of systems with publicly accessible pages of documents, data files and other content resources that can be accessed across the internet using a web browser.

Web 2.0

Web 2.0 is the general term to describe the second generation of the internet, which has allowed people to collaborate and share information online, rather than simply view static websites.

Web 3.0

The next iteration of the internet. Web 3.0 (also known as ‘DWeb’ or ‘Web3’) is expected to store data via decentralised blockchain technology instead of owned servers in physical locations. Machine learning will deliver more adaptive applications.


Find out more about decentralisation.

web address

The URL or digital address for a specific website or file. For example, our web address is

web browser

A web browser is a software program found on all computers and most internet-connected devices that allows you to browse the internet and look up websites. Some popular web browsers include Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Safari.


A webcam is a camera attached to a computer that can transmit real-time still and video images using the internet.

web content

Web content is the written, visual or audio content that is displayed on a website. Apart from page text, it may include document, image, audio and video files. 


The digital form of a physical event known as a seminar. It is usually a live interactive event that attendees join over the internet using a desktop computer or mobile device.


A webpage is a document within a website. A web page has an individual web address, or URL, such as


A website, or ‘site’, is a set of related webpages located under a single domain name.

website administrator

A person who manages the technical details of a website, in terms of creating levels of access and the structure of the site.

web surfing

Surfing the web means moving across multiple webpages in one session, similar to channel surfing on television.


Wi-fi is networking technology that uses radio waves to provide high-speed internet and network connections with no physical wiring.


A wiki is a website or database developed collaboratively by a community of users – the best known is the online encyclopedia Wikipedia. 


A good wiki includes references to reliable websites. However, users should be aware that because wikis are open to public editing, poor quality research, misinformation and propaganda can be added.


A worm is a program that can copy itself (self replicate) and spread without anyone being involved. Worms often use computer networks to spread themselves and take advantage of security flaws on your computer or its operating system. Computer worms are commonly found in files that are attached to emails or instant messages.


www refers to the world wide web, which is a network of websites and webpages that you can access over the internet using a web browser.

Last updated: 20/02/2024