Technology Terms for Kids!

Computers are everywhere! When you learn about computers, it’s important to understand some words that are commonly used in computer lingo. These words and definitions will help you to understand computers and their functions better.

Backup- A backup is a copy of a file, document or program. It is a good idea to create a backup so that you still have valuable information or programs if your computer should crash or get damaged.

Binary- A binary system is a way of counting using only the numbers 1 and 0. This is also known as a “base two” system. The information found on computers is recorded and stored using the binary system.

Bit- The word bit stands for “binary digit” and is made up of either a 1 or a 0. It’s the smallest form of data that is stored and used by computers. Bits make up the binary system.

Browser- A browser is a software program that is used to explore the Internet. When you type a word or phrase into a browser, it links you to pages on the Web that are related to that word or phrase. Common browsers include Internet Explorer and Firefox.

Byte- A byte is a string of bits that usually is eight bits in length. Each byte contains coded information that represents various letters, words or phrases to a computer.

Cable- A cable is a group of wires that are bundled together and protected by a rubber casing. These cables have plugs on either end and are used to connect various parts of a computer or to connect a computer to another device.

CD-ROM- A CD-ROM is a disk that contains information such as text, pictures, sound clips and videos. The term CD-ROM stands for “Compact Disk- Read Only Memory” because at one time they were read-only disks. However, now you can write information onto these disks as well, meaning that you can save information to a CD-ROM. This form of media was popular in the 1990s.

Cell- A cell is a place where a column and a row intersect each other. This is a feature of spreadsheet software programs.

Chat- A chat is an online conversation between people. Internet users often go to chat rooms to engage in conversations with others.

Chip (integr.circuit)- A chip is a tiny piece of silicon that has electronic circuits on it. Chips are the most important parts of a computer and are considered the computer’s “brain.”

ComputerA computer is a special electronic machine that accept information and instructions, works with the information and puts out information. Computers are made up of outside parts known as hardware. The hardware includes items like the keyboard, monitor and the CPU. Computers run on software, which are programs that give the computer instructions on what to do.

CPU- The CPU is also known as the computer’s brain or the “processor” in the computer. The full name for this chip is the “central processing unit.”

Cursor- A cursor is a blinking shape (usually a line) that shows you where the next character that you type will be inserted.

Database- A database is a body of information that is organized so that you can search for, analyze or sort specific items that are in that collection of information. A business might have a database of customer information, for example.

Disk drive- A disk drive is a part of the inside of a computer that spins disks around and writes information onto these disks. This is how a computer stores information.

Download- To download something onto your computer means to get a file from the Internet, a disk or someone else’s computer and save that file to your own computer or disk.

Email- An email is an electronic message that is sent from one computer to another. Some emails have attachments, such as pictures or video clips, and some are just all text.

Field- A field is one specific type of information about a certain subject. For instance, you might have an “address” field in a database that stores information about friends or customers.

Floppy disk (diskette)- A floppy disk or diskette is a storage device that is inserted into a computer for the purpose of saving and storing information. The disk is made of thin plastic and is protected by a hard, square-shaped outer cover.

Gigabyte (GB)- A gigabyte is a term that is used to describe how much information a hard drive will hold. Since “giga” means “one billion,” a gigabyte is approximately equal to one billion bytes.

Hard disk/ hard drive- The hard drive is the storage area of the computer. It contains a hard disk, which has a magnetic coating and can store large amounts of data.

Hardware- The parts of a computer that you can actually touch are known as hardware. Examples include the monitor, mouse and the computer itself.

HTML- HTML is the term used for codes that are used to make Web pages. HTML stands for “HyperText Markup Language.”  If you have a domain name, you can host your HTML with a web hosting company so everyone on the interent can see it.

Icon- An icon is a picture that represents a file, folder or program on a computer. Icons are usually pretty small in size.

Initialize- The word initialize is used to describe an action in which a computer user instructs the computer to format the disk. Formatting the disk means to erase any information that might be on the disk so that new data can be added.

Internet- The Internet is a huge collection of computers around the world that are connected to each other.

Kilobyte (K)- Is an amount of data that is roughly equal to 1,000 bytes.

Megabyte (MB)- Is an amount of information on a computer or a disk that is approximately equal to 1,000,000 bytes.

Memory-  A computer’s memory is the amount of information that it can store temporarily on chips within the computer.

Modem- A modem is a device that hooks a computer up to other computers through a telephone line.

Monitor- A monitor is the screen that you look at to see information provided by the computer. This screen looks somewhat like a television screen.

Network- A network is a group of connected computers. These computers can share information and sometimes hardware.

Peripheral- A peripheral is a hardware item that is connected to the computer by a cable. Examples of input peripherals are mice and keyboards. Examples of output peripherals are printers and monitors.

Pixel- A pixel is the smallest amount of light that you can see on a computer’s monitor. The word pixel stands for “picture element.”

Processor (micro-)- A processor or microprocessor is the central chip that acts as the computer’s “brain.” This part is also called a CPU or “central processing unit.”

RAM- The term RAM stands for “Random Access Memory.” It is the temporary space on your computer’s chips that allows you to read and write data.

RAM vs. Hard Disk- There are multiple differences between RAM and your computer’s hard disk. RAM deals with temporary storage space of a smaller amount of data. The hard disk contains permanent storage for a larger amount of information.

Record- A record is a collection of information about a subject. Records are usually held in databases. For example, a record on a client might hold the person’s name, address and telephone number.

Scanner- A scanner is a piece of hardware that takes a picture of something and converts the picture to binary code. The code is then sent to the computer, and you can print it out if necessary.

Software- A software program is a set of instructions that tells the computer what to do.

Spreadsheet- A spreadsheet is a table that organizes information in rows and columns. Spreadsheets are useful for making calculations to data.

URL- URL stands for “Uniform Resource Locator.” This term is used to describe a web page’s address on the World Wide Web.

USB- USB stands for “Universal Serial Bus.” It is a standard type of connection that allows you to use cables and ports to connect external devices like cameras or printers to a computer.

Virus- A virus is a program that is designed to get inside a computer and damage the computer without the user even knowing it. You can pick up viruses from disks, modems, networks or other computers.

World Wide Web (or Web)- The World Wide Web or “Web” is the connection of many files of many different computers throughout the world. These files can contain all sorts of information like useful programs, graphics, games, sounds and text.