How should I guide my children about digital footprint?
Maintaining and Managing a Positive Digital Footprint
Based on a study conducted by “DataReportal” in 2021, internet users spend on average 6 hours and 56 minutes each day. Whether you spend this time on your laptop in a public place or on your mobile in the quietness of your room, nothing you do online is private. Everyone is watching. If you ask how and why, “Digital Footprint” is the answer.
Just like a real footprint, your digital footprint is the information you leave behind every time you use the internet. So, whether you are aware or not, every day, you add to an expanding picture about who you are online — and indirectly offline.
There are two main categories of digital footprints.
Passive Digital Footprint:
It represents the information gathered about you without you necessarily knowing or intentionally sharing such information. Examples include your IP address, public searches, online purchases, the time you spend on a page or a post, tags of you done by others, etc.
Active Digital Footprint:
It’s the online trail you intentionally leave behind, such as photos and videos you upload, your blog or social media posts, signing up to a newsletter with your information, talking about yourself in a forum, etc. Another example is sending an email since you explicitly intend to have your message seen by others.
For many reasons, you need to manage your digital footprint.
More Trust and Better opportunities:
A positive digital footprint gives you more credibility when it comes to your next job interview, university application or possibly your next bank loan.
When you have a negative digital footprint, such as inappropriate uploaded photos are more likely to damage your reputation or if you share online highly personal and private social media posts and information, you are more likely to be a victim of cyber bullying, harassment or fraud.
Improved Online Experience:
On the bright side of tracking your digital footprint, the content you view, search, interact with or share helps customize the content you will be exposed to in the future. Therefore, the more positive your digital footprint is, the more likely you are to enjoy a positive online experience.
This is how you maintain a positive digital footprint.
Think Before You Post:
Whenever you post, think if this is how you would like your family, friends, future boss and tutors to see you. Be careful not to overshare, commit serious language errors, post questionable images or write negative comments. On the contrary, boost your online presence by posting positive content and engaging in activities that create a positive impact.
Control Your Privacy Settings:
Because social media is among the most active generators of digital footprint, make sure you use your privacy settings to draw the line between what can be public and what should be private and be specific about who can access your profile and view your activities.
Use Separate Email Accounts:
Just like you would have a personal and a business contact number, keep distance between the emails you use for professional purposes or for academic reasons and those used for more personal matters.
Research Yourself Online:
Insert your name in quotations into any search engine, and you might be surprised by the results. This helps you stay in the know about your digital footprint and see more clearly how transparent the internet can be.
These help you better understand the use of your information on a certain websites or applications. You’ll be able to know what kind of data is collected, for what purposes and with whom it’s potentially shared.
All online users have a digital footprint. There’s no doubt or concern about that. What really matters is that you are aware and educated about managing a positive digital footprint to avoid the harms of random internet use. While you can sometimes delete what you do online, you can’t completely remove it from the internet. So, remember the next time you are online, that any poor decision you make in seconds may affect you into the future.