Digital footprint

What is the Size of Your Digital Footprint??external image Digital-Footprint.png

You can think of these digital footprints as the trail of your activity online: the information you access, the details you share, the games you play, the groups with whom you interact with. An additional footprint is created each time you access the Internet from a computer, connect with a gaming station, send a text message, or play a game on your cellphone.
What people often forget is that information passed along digitally cannot be thrown away like the note you write and pass to a classmate.

So, what type of web presence do you want to have?

Ready or not, you need to make decisions now that will affect you far into the future... and your student's future, including situations where they must apply for college or for a job! The graph below shows how employers are using the Internet to locate information about people they are thinking of hiring. Notice that they search social networking sites (such as FaceBook), look at photo and video sharing to see if you have posted something appropriate, blogs and personal web sites. This is the footprint we are talking about, and you can't just erase or throw it away.
Even if your social networking sites are private, universities and businesses are now asking potential students and employees to open these pages so they can get a sense of who they are. Nothing is private on the internet.

(Chart Source: Microsoft Data Privacy Day Report)
(Chart Source: Microsoft Data Privacy Day Report)

Your Digital Footprint includes things like:
  • images of you on a surveillance camera
  • your bank records
  • your retail and airline purchase records
  • your telephone records
  • your medical database entries
  • copies of hospital scans
  • information about your web searches
  • general backup data
  • information about credit card purchases, etc.

Wondering about your own digital footprint? Take a moment to open a new tab and do a Google Image search with your name in the search box. Does your picture come up? Do pictures of people you know come up? If so, your digital trail is our there and an image search is only the tip of the iceberg.

Limit Your Exposure
This advice goes out to everyone--not just children and teens but EVERYONE. Don't post personal information online open to everyone. Beware of what you post. You never know who is watching or what they'll do with the information (including images and videos) that they find.

Protect Yourself

  • Never post any sort of personal information on any public site
  • When shopping (or doing any activity with money) online only give personal information if the address URL begins with https or shttp or a small closed lock should appear in your browser status bar.
  • Ask friends not to tag you in photos. Tag yourself only in photos you want to share, you cannot guarantee your friend's accounts are private.

What would a lesson on a Digital Footprint look like?

Check out this video from The Teaching Channel and while you view, consider the following questions:
  • How does Mr. Van Dyck model the idea of digital footprints with a personal example?
  • In what ways does the challenging nature of the task (and the choice in hosts) increase student engagement?
  • What types of evidence do students provide to justify their choice in hosts?

Additional Resources:Student Introduction: Digital Footprint VideoSix Pixels of SeperationDigital Footprint Blog

Interested in calculating your Digital Footprint?Download the Digital Footprint Calculator (READ MORE)

RETRUN to the Digital Citizenship Home Page

21 Things for Students
Pew Internet and American Life Project
Eastern Kentucky University Smart Computing

Media Resources:
Image courtesy of Creative Commons and Microsoft Data