FAMILY DIGITAL WELLNESS GUIDE
There are a lot of words, technical terms, and slang in the digital world. You can learn more about some of them here. If you’re looking for a word and don’t see it, please let us know at email@example.com.
Algorithm – The way a computer program has been designed to process how someone uses the Internet or an app, and use that information to customize what that user sees displayed. For example, if a user frequently visits a specific person’s social media account, posts from that account will appear before other, less frequently visited accounts.
Analytics – Data collected by companies to measure different aspects of the use of their product, (for example, how long someone views an image, how many times an image has been liked, or how many times a link has been opened).
Artificial Intelligence (AI) – Computer programs that are designed to perform tasks that are usually performed by humans. These programs respond to a set of inputs and have the capability to learn from data and make decisions or predictions based on that data.
AI content detector – A tool that provides a confidence percentage when evaluating whether a text was partially or entirely generated by AI. One example of use is a teacher reviewing a student’s paper using this type of AI checker.
Blue light – The type of light that screen-based technologies like laptops, tablets, and smartphones give off. Looking at this kind of light can make someone feel more alert or in a heightened mood, and can also result in sleep disruption.
Brand/Branding – How something or someone identifies and chooses to represent themselves to the world. For an individual person, this can mean the type of content they share online or behaviors they engage in so that other people understand their values. For a business, this can mean the kinds of messages they create with the intention of attracting a certain type of customer.
Chatbot (or “bots”) – AI designed programs that run within websites and apps to interact directly with users and help them with simple tasks. These bots use language processing to carry on conversations with individuals in an almost human-like manner.
CIPA – The Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) was enacted by Congress in 2000 to address concerns about children’s access to obscene or harmful online content by requiring minimum internet access and monitoring policies of schools and libraries that receive certain federal communications services discounts. (Federal Communications Commission)
Claude – An AI assistant created by Anthropic to use techniques like Constitutional AI and harmlessness training to provide thoughtful dialogue, content creation, complex reasoning, creativity, and coding using real-time data.
Cognitive science – The broader form of study that includes AI in addition to philosophy, linguistics, psychology, neuroscience, and anthropology. All of these combine together to learn how the mind functions and, when applied to AI, how machines can simulate human thought and action.
Constitutional AI – A method for training AI systems using a set of rules or principles that act as a “constitution” for the AI system. This approach allows the AI system to operate within a societally accepted framework and aligns it with human intentions.
COPPA – The Children’s Online Privacy and Protection Act (COPPA) is a federal law that places limits on the data and information website and application operators can collect on children under the age of 13. (Federal Trade Commission)
Creator economy – A type of business run by online content creators (including influencers and entrepreneurs) who monetize their audiences through paid partnerships, ads, tipping platforms and product sales, to earn direct revenue.
Cryptocurrency (Crypto) – Digital currency traded and invested online. Can be used directly for many purchases but can also be traded for more traditional assets. Common cryptocurrencies include Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Dogecoin.
DBT – Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is evidence-based psychotherapy to help individuals who have difficulty with emotional regulation or exhibiting self-destructive behaviors by developing healthy ways to cope with stress, regulate emotions, and improve relationships with others.
Developmentally optimal – Activities, conversations, and information that are at the right level to be understood by a child while contributing to their ongoing physical, social, mental, and academic growth, regardless of their biological age.
DLC – Downloadable content (DLC) refers to any extra elements in video games that you can download separately including characters, levels, cosmetics and similar. DLC sometimes, but not always, comes at an additional cost.
Doxing/Doxxing – A form of harassment in which a person reveals private information (such as real name, family information, home address, phone number, or financial records) about another person on the internet, typically with malicious intent.
EdTech – Short for educational technology, the practice of introducing IT tools into the classroom to create a more engaging, inclusive and individualized learning experience. Examples include: in-classroom tablets, interactive projection screens and whiteboards, and online content delivery.
Emoji – Small characters like smiley faces, food items, animals, and other objects that are used within or in place of text. (Learn more at Emojipedia)
Emotional regulation – The ability to exert control over one’s own emotional state. It may involve behaviors such as rethinking a challenging situation to reduce anger or anxiety, hiding visible signs of sadness or fear, or focusing on reasons to feel happy or calm.
Evidence-based – Refers to the systematic process where decisions are made and actions or activities are undertaken using the best research available. The aim of evidence-based practice is to remove as far as possible, subjective opinion, unfounded beliefs, or bias from decisions and actions in organizations.
Finsta – Short for “fake Instagram,” but used to describe accounts on multiple social media services, this is an account that is typically reserved for one’s closest friends where a user shares more open thoughts and unedited or personal images.
Fourth Wall – Used to describe an imaginary wall that separates a story from the real world. In media, “breaking the fourth wall” refers to a character acknowledging their fictionality, by either indirectly or directly addressing the audience.
Gameplay – The specific way in which players interact with video games through the game rules, the connection between player and the game, challenges and overcoming them, and the plot and player’s connection with it.
Generation Alpha (Gen Alpha) – Demographic cohort including those born from 2010 onwards. Generation Alpha succeeds Generation Z, and is recognized as the first generation to grow up in a fully digital world.
Generation X (Gen X) – Demographic cohort including those born between the mid-1960s and the early 1980s. Gen Xers fall between Baby Boomers and Millennials, and are typically approaching the middle of their peak working careers.
Generation Y (Gen Y or Millennials) – Demographic cohort including those born between 1981 and the mid 1990s. Millennials fall between Gen X and Gen Z, and were the first generation to be dubbed digital natives for their elevated usage and familiarity with digital technology.
Generation Z (Gen Z) – Demographic cohort including those born between the late 1990s and the early 2010s. Gen Zers fall between Millennials and Gen Alpha, and were the first generation to be dubbed digitally literate with access to the internet and portable digital technology from a young age.
Generative AI (genAI) – Artificial intelligence system that is designed to process prompts from users and respond with text, images, audio or other output that is modeled on an existing training data set.
GPT – Internet abbreviation for generative pre-trained transformer (GPT). A type of machine learning algorithm that uses deep learning and a large database of training text to generate new text in response to a user’s prompt.
Inclusive – Aiming to provide equal access to opportunities and resources for people who might otherwise be excluded or marginalized, such as those having physical or intellectual disabilities or belonging to other minority groups.
Influencer – A popular individual with a heavy social media presence who is frequently sponsored by companies to feature their products. Mega and celebrity influencers typically have a follower count of 1,000,000+.
Lag – The delay between the action of the user and the reaction of the server supporting the task. This often happens when the network is congested with too much traffic, or when a computer does not have enough processing power.
LAN – A local area network (LAN) is a computer network that connects computers within a limited area such as a residence, school or office building.The computers in a LAN connect to each other via TCP/IP ethernet or Wi-Fi.
LGBTQIA – Stands for “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/questioning, Intersex, Asexual, Agender and more” as an inclusive way of representing a diverse range of sexualities and gender identities. The first four letters of the acronym have been used since the 1990s but in recent years there has been increased awareness of the need to offer better representation.
Livestreaming – Broadcasting a situation in real-time over a social media platform. (see also: Video game livestreaming)
Mastery – To help your child achieve agency and independence by helping them to make intentional choices and recover from their mistakes. For more, see The 5Ms of Digital Wellness.
Media use agreement – A document that families create together to describe how and when they will use devices and media, how they will hold one another accountable to these expectations, and what will happen when someone breaks the agreement.
Memories – To make it a priority to spend uninterrupted technology-free time with your child. For more, see The 5Ms of Digital Wellness.
Mental health – Encompasses emotional, psychological, and social well-being and affects how we think, feel, and act. Mental health also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others and make healthy choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.
Mental illness – Health conditions involving changes in emotion, thinking, behavior or a combination of these. Mental illness can be associated with distress and/or problems functioning in social, work or family activities.
Mentor – To empower and teach your child to use technology and digital media in a healthy and responsible way. For more, see The 5Ms of Digital Wellness.
MMORPG – Video game abbreviation for “massively multiplayer online role-playing game,” a type of game where thousands of players all exist in the same online open-world server simultaneously. Examples include World of Warcraft, EverQuest and Final Fantasy.
Model – To set a good example by behaving the way you want your child to – both online and off. For more, see The 5Ms of Digital Wellness.
Monitor – To create a media use agreement with your child, actively observe their behaviors, and enforce boundaries consistently. For more, see The 5Ms of Digital Wellness.
Multi-factor authentication (MFA) – A multi-step account login process that requires users to enter more information than just a password. MFA acts as an additional layer of security to prevent unauthorized users from accessing an account.
Mx. – A gender-neutral title used in the same way as gendered titles like “Miss” and “Mr.” Like the singular “they,” it’s used for people who identify as neither male nor female, or people who simply don’t want to be identified based on their gender.
NLP – Natural language processing (NLP) is a field of AI that allows computers to understand and process human language. More sophisticated programs can decipher speech in various languages, understanding not only vocabulary but also pulling out context and hidden meanings.
Online disinhibition effect – Refers to the lack of restraint one feels when communicating online in comparison to communicating in-person. People tend to feel safer saying things online which they would not say in real life because they have the ability to remain completely anonymous and invisible when on particular websites, and as a result, free from potential consequences.
Overshare – To tell too much about one’s life, typically over the Internet. (see also: TMI)
Passive screen use – Watching or reading screen-based media that doesn’t require thinking or active engagement, such as scrolling through social media feeds or watching videos online. (see also: Receptive screen use)
PCIAT (Parent-Child Internet Addiction Test) – A test that asks parents questions about how their child uses the Internet, to determine if their child has a healthy or unhealthy relationship with using the Internet.
Phishing – The fraudulent practice of sending deceptive messages (disguised from a legitimate, trustworthy site) in order to induce individuals to reveal confidential information such as passwords or credit card numbers.
PPRA – The Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA) from the US Department of Education seeks to protect students’ privacy by requiring parental notice and consent/opt-out for surveys of students that address protected topics including political affiliations; mental health; sexual behavior; illegal or demeaning behavior; religious beliefs; and income.
Problematic Interactive Media Use (PIMU) – Overuse of digital media that interferes with a child’s balanced, healthy life and can lead to poor school performance, family conflicts, emotional and psychological concerns and relationship problems. Also referred to as “gaming disorder,” “internet addiction,” or “media addiction”.
Psychotherapy – A type of evidence-based treatment that targets the mind, specifically thoughts and behaviors. By talking with a psychologist, psychiatrist or other mental health providers, psychotherapy can help individuals experiencing a wide array of mental health conditions and emotional challenges.
PvP/PvE – Video game slang for “player versus player,” refers to games or modes where human players compete against each other. This contrasts with “player versus environment/enemy” where one plays against computer-controlled opponents.
Rage farming – The tactic of intentionally provoking an adversary, typically by posting inflammatory content on social media, in order to elicit angry responses and thus gain high engagement or widespread exposure for the original poster.
Receptive screen use – Watching or reading screen-based media that doesn’t require thinking or active engagement, such as scrolling through social media feeds or watching videos online. (see also: Passive screen use)
Revenge porn – A form of sexual abuse that involves the digital distribution of nude or sexually explicit photos or videos of a person without their consent, often as retaliation or blackmail by a current or former partner.
RPG – Role-playing games (RPG) are a broad genre of video games that are typically story-rich with immersive worlds in which characters have a variety of stats and items that increase through battles and quests. Examples include Pokemon, Dragon Quest, Baldur’s Gate and Super Mario Bros.
Short form video – Refers to shorter length videos, such as those on Instagram reels or TikTok. Short form videos are more easily consumable, especially on mobile devices, and tend to be shot in portrait mode.
Smartwatch – A modern wristwatch that includes computerized functionality (such as the ability to display text messages or notifications) and helps the user keep track of their health, lifestyle and activity.
Smurf – Video game slang that refers to a skilled player making a secondary account to play against lower-ranked opponents, thereby manipulating the ranking system to keep their account at the desired skill level.
Social emotional learning (SEL) – The process through which all young people and adults acquire and apply the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to develop healthy identities, manage emotions, achieve personal and collective goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain supportive relationships, and make responsible and caring decisions (Credit: CASEL)
Supervised learning – A form of machine learning that does not function independently but requires human input. Data is presented into the machine and the process is supervised by a person while the computer works towards a specific outcome.
TMI – Internet abbreviation for “too much information,” to tell too much about one’s life, typically over the Internet. (see also: Overshare)
Verified – Proving identity to a social media platform and, in return, receiving a checkmark of verification next to your name on your profile. Verified is typically reserved for celebrities, famous brands, and other public figures to prevent users from interacting with fraudulent accounts/copycats.
Viral social media challenge – Typically involves users recording themselves performing unusual, dramatic, funny, or risky actions and sharing this content with others who can then perform the act themselves, thereby accepting, completing, and continuing to share the challenge.
Virtual Reality (VR) – A setting or environment that is completely computer-generated but has the feeling of being real. A user engaging with virtual reality can use special sensors and goggles to interact with the virtual environment.