March 29, 2022

5 Things Students Should Know About Digital Footprints

By Ms. Amy Nguyen

What are Digital Footprints?

Digital Footprints are someone’s online activities. Examples of students’ digital footprints could include any of the following:

  • A Facebook post
  • An Instagram picture
  • A TikTok video
  • An online forum comment
  • YouTube videos
  • Text messages and emails

How Does Digital Footprints Relate to Identity?

Students often form their online identities by what they do and post (digital footprints) on the internet. 

Example: They might have social media accounts where they share their personal information to the world. Maybe if a student posts many pictures of herself playing sports. An image is painted that she is most likely an athlete.

Why Should Student Care About Digital Footprints?

What students put on the internet (good or bad) could be permanent. When students create online accounts, they could be allowing those sites to keep and share their data. Even if online post is deleted, if someone took a screenshot of it beforehand, it could be reshared across the internet. Even if students delete text messages, the data is still floating around digitally and can be retrieved by local authorities.

The Effects of Negative Digital Footprints

What students post about themselves and other people could have negative consequences. The following digital footprints could land students in trouble to their friends and families, school, local authorities, and/or employers.

  • racy pictures
  • insensitive remarks 
  • foul/racist language
  • illegal downloads

How to Make a Positive Digital Footprint

When students are surfing the internet, blogging, tweeting, texting, etc., be sure to T.H.I.N.K. to make smart and safe decisions about what they are sharing.

  1. Is what I am posting TRUE?
  2. Is it HELPFUL?
  3. Is it INSPIRING?
  4. Is it NECESSARY?
  5. Is it KIND?