1. How might your digital footprint affect your future opportunities? Give at least two examples.
Your digital footprint might affect your future in a variety of ways. Whether you’re applying for volunteering, a job, or a university, someone will probably google your name and check your social media platforms to see what kind of person you are. Depending on how wisely you spent your time online, this will help your employer or the people reviewing your job/university/volunteer application decide whether or not to accept you.
Also, if you talk about someone behind their back on the Internet, that person may eventually find out about what you wrote or posted and could possibly decide to report you or no longer be friends with you. If they choose to report you, this could again impact your position in existing or future jobs or universities.
I’ve described the ways that your digital footprint can impact you negatively, but you can also leave a positive digital footprint on the internet. If you are conscious about what you post, don’t give too much information about yourself, and are kind to others, this will be nothing but good news for your future, your friendships, and the overall impression the Internet has of you.
2. Describe at least three strategies that you can use to keep your digital footprint appropriate and safe.
One strategy that you could use to keep your digital footprint appropriate and safe is asking a trusted adult to check your comment or post before you post it yourself. Adults have been around a lot longer than we have, so they know a lot more about what’s appropriate and inappropriate to post or comment. Plus, if you get into an argument on the internet, it would be best to ask an adult to help you solve it.
Another thing you can do is to keep your social media accounts as private as possible. Most mainstream social media platforms have privacy settings, and you should always turn these settings on – no matter what. With privacy settings on, only people who you give permission to follow you can view your account and what you post. And even if you do have a private account, it’s best not to post pictures of yourself and any of your personal information.
Finally, always think before you post or comment, especially if you choose to make your account public. A good guideline to follow for this is the acronym “THINK” – is it Truthful, Helpful, Important, Necessary, and/or Kind? If your comment or post passes the THINK criteria, then go ahead and post! But if it doesn’t, stop and assess again.
3. If you could go back in time, is there anything you would do differently online? Think of what type of advice you would pass on to your younger self or other students. How could you go about explaining it to them?
If I could go back in time, there’s nothing really that I would do differently online. I never really joined any social media platforms until last year, and the only ones I use currently are YouTube and Instagram. I don’t do anything other than subscribe to videos on YouTube, and I’ve never posted anything personal on my Instagram. However, I do have some advice for my younger self and that is to be more patient with my parents and their rules of the Internet. I used to get so frustrated when I was one of the only people in my class that didn’t use social media, but I see now that if I had gotten social media at the same time as my friends, I would not have been mature enough to handle it. Knowing me, I would’ve ended up posting a lot of embarrassing things that my present self would regret, and would also be on the Internet forever.
If I were to tell my younger self this, I would probably try my best to tell her gently, but still explain that things I would like in Grade Six probably wouldn’t be the same several years later. I would also tell my Grade Six self that I would get social media soon enough, once I was older and mature enough to handle it.