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Posted December 16, 2014

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Understanding your 'Digital Footprint'

Learn about the trail or 'footprint' of data that exists about you on the internet.

On the internet, a "digital footprint" is the word used to describe the trail, traces or "footprints" that people leave online -- or, more simply put, a digital footprint is the information you find when you Google yourself.

A digital footprint is the collection of all the traces you leave in electronic environments as you use or move through them. Some is content you actively volunteer—like your Facebook profile. Other material is passive—the cookies a site stores in your browser, the content your district collects about your use of their equipment, etc. All this data can be aggregated to build a profile of you and your behavior.

Digital Footprint Overview:

This short video from Common Sense Media provides a simple overview of how your digital footprint is created.


"If we were to look you up online, what would we learn about you?"

When speaking to someone about their digital footprint, here are a few questions that can help guide your conversation:

  • If we were to look you up online what would we learn about you ?
  • What are your digital footprints?
  • Is there anything online that you wouldn't want your teacher or parent to know about you ?

Here is a good video from the UBC Digital Tattoo Project that was created to help students understand their digital footprint.


Tips for managing digital footprint:

  • Never post anything that you might find embarrassing later. 
  • Be careful with the pictures you post on your public profiles. Remember others will see them and judge you based on their content. 
  • Change the privacy settings on your social networking sites so that only your Friends can see your information 
  • Do not disclose your personal address, phone number, passwords. Bank card numbers...etc even in private messages. There is always the possibility of somebody hacking into your account and finding them. 
  • Do not post things to bully, hurt, blackmail, insult, or afflict any kind of harm on others 
  • Always keep in mind that once information has been posted online, it can be almost impossible to remove because of archiving and file sharing. Even though you deactivate your accounts, the information may still be retrieved by others.


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