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Digital Footprint

Your digital footprint is a trail of your online behaviors and the content you post about yourself and others. Tagged photos, blog posts and social networking interactions will all shape how you are perceived by others online and offline, both now and in the future.
A poor digital reputation can affect your friendships, relationships and even your job prospects, so it is very important that you are aware of what picture you are painting of yourself online and protect your digital reputation today.


Video Discussion Questions

(for parents & teachers)

• What is a “digital footprint”? Have you ever heard of digital footprints before?

• When you leave footprints from your shoes on a floor, you can clean them up. Can you erase digital footprints too?

• What kinds of online activities leave a trail and become part of your digital footprint?

• What are some examples of private information that you should be careful not to share online? What are some examples of personal information that are OK to share?

• What do you do normally when you’re not sure if something is OK to share online? With whom could you check to find out if something you want to do online is OK?


Video Discussion Questions

(for parents & teachers)

• What is a “digital footprint”?

• What does it mean that your digital footprint can be “searched”?

• Have you ever had an experience when something you said or did online was copied and shared?

• Think about three websites you use. Who sees the information you share on each of those sites?

• Do you know anyone who has a really positive digital footprint? What kind of information does he or she share?

• Because your footprint is permanent, information you share now might be seen in the future. If a college saw your digital footprint right now, do you think it would help or hurt your chances of getting in? Are there any ways you can create a more positive digital footprint?

What Do I Need to Know?

  • Once information makes its way online it can be difficult to remove and can be easily and quickly shared around.
  • Images and words can be misinterpreted and altered as they are passed around.
  • Content intended for your small group of friends can cause issues when shared with others outside the group.
  • You need to consider how you manage both your messages and images and those of others.
  • Your privacy settings on social media sites need to be managed in order to protect your digital reputation.

Protecting your Digital Reputation

  • Stop and think about any content before you post or send.
  • Treat others online as you would like to be treated.
  • Set your profile to private—and check every now and then to make sure the settings haven’t changed.
  • Keep an eye on photos tagged by your friends and remove ones that are offensive.
  • Remember your online information could be there forever and your personal information may end up being seen by people you don’t know, including potential employers.

Can you Clean Up a Digital Reputation?

Cleaning up your digital reputation can be a difficult task but it is not impossible. You may not be able to erase the past, but you can build a better image of yourself online over time. There are thousands of online articles that can provide you with excellent guidance on how to go about cleaning up your digital reputation.