Internet Terms/Slang You Should Know

Adolescent – a person up to the age of 19 (as defined by the UN)7

Chatroom – a location online that allows multiple users to communicate electronically with each other in real time, as opposed to delayed time with e-mail2

Child sexual exploitation – child coerced to take part in sexual activity in exchange for something (ex: food, drugs, affection, gifts)7

Cyberbullies/cyberbullying – willful and repeated harm inflicted through the medium of electronic communication.

Deepfake – using artificial intelligence to manufacture realistic (often sexually explicit) videos of someone

Disclosure – when a child informs someone that harassment or abuse has occurred5

Dissociation – symptom of trauma that involves separation from main body of consciousness5


DM/DM’s – A way of describing direct messaging. A private message on a social media platform.


Doxxing – exposing a person’s address, phone, and/or other sensitive information online for purposes of harassment and stalking

Duty to report – anyone with reasonable suspicions that a child is in need of protection must report it to a child protection service4

Flashback – sudden, vivid memory of a traumatic event5

Grooming – when a perpetrator builds rapport or promotes certain behaviours, with the intention of sexually abusing the child in the future5

Harassment – conduct intended to violate the dignity of a person (purpose), or can be interpreted as offensive or intimidating (effect)professional sexual exploitation – sexual actions by professionals and volunteers within a helping relationship7

Intimate violence – violence committed by someone familiar to the victim5

Juvenile sex offender – a person under the age of 18 who under their national law been convicted of sexual offenses7

Minor – every human under the age of eighteen-years unless under applicable law to the person, majority is attained earlier7

Online enticement of children – communicating with someone believed to be a child through the internet, with the intent of online exploitation7

Online Luring – a situation where an individual communicates with a young person through technology (texting, IM, SMS, etc.) to make it easier to commit a specific sexual offence against that young person3

Resilience – ability to recover from trauma. Having just a few healthy relationships greatly increases resilience-building potential5

Sexting – cell phone, computer and other mobile device users – often teens and ‘tweens’ – create and exchange provocative messages and nude, sexual images of themselves using their cell phone’s built-in digital camera and text messaging capabilities2

Catfishing – using a fake profile or pretending to be someone else (or both) to get a target to share personal information or become romantically involved2

Sextortion – using sexual images to blackmail, humiliate, or get revenge on someone2

Sex tourism – sexual exploitation (often involving children) in the context of travel and tourism1

Stranger Danger – a phrase popularized by PSA’s in the 1980s. There has been a conscious shift away from this term to discourage children to blindly trust adults they somewhat know5

Pedophile/Child Predator – person with primary or exclusive sexual preference to prepubescent children, distinguished from child sexual abuser, who have acted on their preferences6

Survivor – a term used instead of victim to promote resilience. Only use this language after an individual self-identifies with this word7

Text bombing – sending a large number of text messages to a person at one time so that they can’t use their device8

Victim – an individual who has experienced violence or trauma. Only use this language after an individual self-identifies with this word. see: survivor7

Victim identification – detailed analysis of images and videos to locate and rescue child sexual abuse victims, particularly relevant in online child abuse7



  1. “Appropriate Terminology.” Interpol, Accessed 20 March 2021.
  2. “Glossary of terms.” eSafety Commissioner, Accessed 20 March 2021.
  3. Moss, Stephanie. “Sexual exploitation and Trafficking of Children and Youth in Canada.” Children of the Street, Accessed 20 March 2021.
  4. “Reporting child abuse and neglect.” Ontario Ministry of Children, 13 June 2019.
  5. “Secret Survivors.” Ping Chong and Company, Accessed 20 March 2021.
  6. “Terminology.” ATSA. Accessed 20 March 2021.
  7. “Terminology Guidelines for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse.” Interagency Working Group on Sexual Exploitation of Children, 28 Jan. 2016.
  8. “Text Bomb: What Parents Should Know About This Cyberbullying Sidekick.” Visions Treatment Centers, 14 July 2020,
Educate. Advocate. Protect.