The role of emerging communication technologies in experiences of sexual violence

A new legal frontier?
Research Report No. 23 – February 2013

Appendix H: Glossary of terminology

Table H1: Glossary of terminology
Term Description
Bebo See Social networking site
Blogs Informational or discussion-based websites characterised by discrete entries called "posts". Posts appear in reverse chronological order, with the most recent post appearing first. Blogs can be authored by an individual, or a group of individuals. Content can vary from journal writing to topic-specific posts. Popular platforms include WordPress, LiveJournal and Blogger.
Chatrooms Sites that allow for real-time, text-based communication between two or more users.
Chatroulette See Webcam-based chat
Cyber-bullying An established pattern of behaviour over a period of time that includes negative, insulting or threatening communications using mobile phone or Internet technologies (such as texts and instant messages).
Cyber-safety An educative campaign that focuses on the safe and responsible use of emerging communication technologies. It focuses on risk reduction and promoting awareness of potential dangers.
Cyber-stalking The use of emerging communication technologies to stalk or harass an individual or group of individuals. It includes monitoring individuals, publishing defamatory statements, gathering information for the purpose of harassment and making threats. In law, cyber-stalking is covered by existing stalking legislation.
Emerging communication technologies Modes of communication that are ever-evolving in nature. It is a necessarily imprecise term that includes both devices (for instance, computers and mobile telephones) and associated platforms of communication (for instance, social networking sites and text messages).
Discussion boards Web-based forums or message boards on which users conduct conversations in the form of posted messages. They differ from chat rooms in that the posted messages are typically archived, conversations do not occur in real time and boards are often moderated externally. Most discussion boards are public, allowing those not involved in the discussion to read comments.
Facebook See Social networking site
Friendster See Social networking site
Handles The pseudonym used by individuals in online communication. Also referred to as "screen names", handles allow communication without revealing an individual's identity.
Internet relay chat ( IRC) A service that provides real-time text messaging between individuals over the Internet. It is can be used by groups to communicate on discussion forums or "channels" or between individuals by communicating through private messaging. Most IRC platforms offer a file-sharing function.
Micro-blogs Shorter versions of blogs, involving significantly smaller file sizes. Users typically exchange short messages or "micro-posts", which can take the form of text (often short sentences), web links or images. Popular micro-blogging platforms include Twitter, Tumblr and FriendFeed.
Mobile phone technology Telephonic and Internet-based services, including text messaging, MMS, Internet access, email and Bluetooth. Phones incorporating computing capabilities - including photography, gaming and business applications - are generally referred to as "smartphones".
MySpace See Social networking site
Omegle See Webcam-based chat
Online games Internet-based games based on the depiction of a society or "world". Often constructed around themes of fantasy, science fiction, horror, war or historical eras, players interact within the game through the use of an "avatar" (or personalised virtual character). Players can communicate with each other by text or real-time voice communication. Popular examples of online games include World of Warcraft, Call of Duty and Battlefield.
Skype See Webcam-based chat
Smartphones see Mobile phone technology
Social media The use of emerging communication technologies to create, exchange and share commentary and content. Social media involves the use of web-based applications to produce user-generated content. This content is often shared by communities based on mutual interest.
Social networking sites Online services, platforms or sites that aim to build social relations and social networks. Individual users are represented by a profile that reflects varying degrees of information about them, including biographical details, interests and activities. Networks may mirror offline relationships or be expanded to include those with shared interests. Most services offer communication through one or more of the following: micro-blogging, instant messaging (both public and private) and emailing. Many sites have image-sharing capabilities and functions that allow for the organisation of both online or offline events. Popular social networking sites include Facebook, MySpace, Friendster and Bebo.
Tumblr See Micro-blogs
Twitter See Micro-blogs
Virtual worlds Online communities that occur within computer-based simulated environments. Users interact with each other using text-based communication and the control of two-dimensional or three-dimensional "avatars" (or personalised virtual characters). Interaction in virtual worlds is not necessarily "game"-based and can include text-based chat rooms or computer conferencing. Popular examples of virtual worlds are Second Life and Sims.
Webcam-based chat The use of video-based communication over the Internet. Services that offer this function employ a combination of text, audio and video to facilitate communication between users. Services may be profile-based, allowing users to communicate with friends (for instance, Skype), or anonymous and aimed at connecting users unknown to each other (for instance, Chatroullette or Omegle).
World of Warcraft see Online games
YouTube A searchable video-sharing website based on registered users creating and uploading videos. Uploaded videos are then viewed by registered and unregistered users. Frequent contributors often create their own channels, which archive uploaded videos, often according to specific topics or themes.