Digital Footprints

Benton Tech Tips for Teachers

What is My Digital Footprint?

Teachers, as we start to incorporate more and more technology into the classroom, it is important we discuss with our students the trail they leave behind. In today's world of e-mail, texting, blogging, YouTube and social media, little thought is given to the footprints we leave on the digital world. We see our footprints as we walk across a wet sandy beach, but we don't always see them when on a computer. Did you know that every time you login to a website, search something on Google, or post pictures to social media you are leaving another footprint from someone to follow? Just what type of footprint you leave is up to you. The things you say and how you say them, the pictures and posts you put online, as well as the videos you upload all paint a picture of you.

When using social media, YouTube or blogging don't over share. In today's world, keep your personal information just that, personal. Use only your first name or a nickname. Leave out all information about where you live, work or go to school. By providing this information, you are giving predators a road map to your front door. Instead of posting private information, tell about your likes and dislikes, hobbies or other interests. These things are not as easily searchable and could apply to thousands of people in your area.

While posting online, it is best to consider the Golden Rule. Think "Would my friends want me to post this picture? Would I be embarrassed if this picture was posted of me? Would I be offended if this was said about me? Do I want my mom, dad, grandparents, teacher, or principal to see this? Is this something I would do or say if I wasn't online?" If you can answer no to most of these questions, then DON'T post it! Everything you post can be seen and shared by anyone. Even if you think your account is private and only your friends can see it, it's really not that private. Your friends can copy and paste or take a snapshot of your post or picture and share it out with all their friends. Even if you think you deleted it from the Internet, nothing is ever truly gone from the internet. Posting to the internet is PERMANENT! You may think you have gotten rid of it, but that server has made a backup copy that can be accessed or someone has already made a copy before you had time to take it down. When in doubt, don't post.

5 Ways to Make a Positive Digital Footprint!

How You Can Manage Your Digital Footprint.

How do you start to manage your digital footprint? You can start by:

    • Protecting your personal data: Don’t post your address, phone number, or school online. Also use a nickname instead of your real name.
      • Keep your login info under lock and key: Never share any of your usernames or passwords with anyone. If someone has access to these, they can get in and post bad stuff under your name.
        • THINK before you post: Once something is posted, it can be difficult to remove. If you wouldn’t want mom or dad, teacher/principal or colleges seeing something, don’t post it!
          • Nix the pics: Any photo you post publicly is fair game for anyone to find. If you do choose to share pictures, be sure to set your privacy settings accordingly. Even then you are not 100% safe.
            • Google yourself: It may sound weird but if strangers are going to do it, you should too! Search for your name every few months so you can see all the information about yourself that others have access to via the internet.
              • Scale back on social media: Don't be on more social networking sites than you can handle. Keep the profiles you use most often and delete any accounts you don't.

              I'm here to help!

              Would you like me to come talk to your class about the digital footprints they leave behind or basic online safety, send me an e-mail and I would be more than glad to help.