Kids & Computers

Computer Terminology

Computer Terms




A computer that other computers can connect to via a network.


A hardware device that is used to transfer information between computers via a phone line. Modem comes from the 2 words Modulation & Demodulation. A Modem converts information from analog to digital and vice versa. Digital information is represented in a series of 1's & 0's. Analog information varies continuously like a sound wave. Typically when you send an E-mail, your modem converts the digital E-mail message to analog.


A package of instructions that causes the computer to do something. Examples include application programs and games.


A catalog for files stored on the Hard disk of a computer. It is a mechanism to group files. The topmost directory is called the root directory; the directories within a directory are called sub directories.


A collection of data organized and designed for easy access.

Floppy Disk

A magnetic disk which is used to store data. Floppy disks are often used to transfer files from one computer to another or to backup important files.

Application Program

A Program that has been created to perform a specific task that is useful to the user. Examples include Word Processors (Word), Spreadsheets (Excel), Browsers (Netscape) and Drawing Packages (Paint).


An input device that is used for entering data into a computer or giving it an instruction to do something specific. The key arrangements resemble that of a typewriter plus it has additional keys for specific functions.


An input device used to maximize the benefits of a Graphical User Interface. The mouse also has a pointer on the screen that is moved by moving the mouse up or down or from side to side. Generally a mouse has two buttons which activates various tasks either by a single or a double click.


Central Processing Unit. This refers to the brains of the computer Ė the microchip.


Chips that hold information that the computer needs to use. These chips are connected directly to the Microprocessor. There are two types of Memory Chip:-

Random Access Memory (RAM)

Read Only Media (ROM)


Compact Disk - Read only Media. Plastic disc that can contain enormous amounts of information.


Graphical User Interface. A Graphical User Interface is designed so that the user can perform tasks by using a mouse to point & click to navigate around the computer.

Active Window

In Windows, the front-most window on the desktop. The window which accepts any keyboard input


Personal Computer. Also sometimes used to distinguish an IBM compatible computer from a Macintosh computer.


Random Access Memory. It is a temporary storage area that the processor uses to execute programs and to hold data.


Stuff you get back from the computer. Examples of output are: text/graphics displayed on the monitor, sounds from the speakers, a printed page from the printer.


Stuff you tell the computer to do. This can be from external devices like a keyboard, mouse, or microphone.

Hard Disk

The Hard Disk is where the data is stored within the computer.

Disk Drive

The hardware which performs the basic operations on the hard disk - including rotating the disk & reading/writing data to the disk.


The physical components of a computer including things like monitors, keyboards, mice, and printers.


Used to display the computer output.


Visual display of computer environment viewed on the monitor.


Internet Terms



Band Width

The maximum speed at which data can be transmitted between computers in a network.


A feature of web browsers to save a web page’s location for future retrieval.


A program used to navigate the World Wide Web. Examples include: Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator


Electronic Mail. A way of sending other people messages from your computer. Widely used facility on the Internet that basically sends addressed messages over a Network. The message normally gets there in a couple of minutes.


HyperText Transmission Protocol. A protocol that computers on the internet use to communicate with each other.

Home page

The page by which a user normally enters a web site.


A highlighted, underlined phrase or word on a web page that can be clicked to go to another part of the page or even to another web page.


The Internet is a world wide computer network through which you can send a letter, chat with people electronically or search for information. It originated in the 1960's when the US defense department was worried about having its computer network destroyed by blowing up the central computer. A network was designed around the principle of "unreliable computers" - if one was destroyed or failed the remaining computers could still function.


Uniform Resource Locator - How documents on the WWW are referenced. The URL contains the protocol to be used (HTTP) and then an internet address. Addresses are suffixed with a certain code to distinguish what type of organization it represents. Examples of codes used include:

com - Commercial organization

edu - Educational institution

gov - Non military government organizations

int - International Organizations

mil - Military government organizations

net - Networks

org - non profit organization


Surfing the net. Looking around the internet, jumping from web page to web page.


E-mails sent to people whom in no way asked you to send that information - normally done in huge numbers to promote a product.

Web Page

An HTML document which contains information which can be seen on the internet.


HyperText Markup Language. The text based language used to construct Web pages. This text it then interpreted by Web Browsers and displayed by computers.


World Wide Web. The Internet facility that allows you to browse linked web pages.