1. How might your digital footprint affect your future opportunities? Give at least two examples.
One thing I always ask myself when I’m online is whether or not I would be comfortable with everybody I know seeing what I’m doing or sharing. When I share a picture of myself on social media I have to consider all the people who will be viewing that post. In the same way, when I am commenting on someone else’s post, I have to be careful. I know that anything I do online will leave a mark. Everything can be traced back to me, even years later. When applying for a job, my digital footprint will often be researched before I am even considered to be hired for that job. I’ve heard of countless incidents where people have been turned away because of their negative impact they left while they were online. People have to be careful all their lives, because once something has been put online, it can never completely be erased. Even years later when kids grow up to be adults, the decisions they made and actions they took when they were young can and will affect their future opportunities, no matter how long ago something was. Therefore, everyone must take extreme caution when online, because although this type of technology is an amazing part of our world, the consequences of negative actions while using it are dangerous for our futures.
2. Describe at least three strategies that you can use to keep your digital footprint appropriate and safe.
First, one strategy that can be used to keep your digital footprint appropriate and safe is to ask yourself before sharing if this is something you would be okay with everyone seeing. Go through any friends, parents, teachers, (etc.) that you might want to consider as people you would feel uncomfortable with viewing your online activities. Anything that would embarrass you or make you feel uneasy if someone saw it is probably not a good thing to be sharing. Be mindful of the consequences. As well, another strategy that can be used to stay safe online is to never share any personal information about yourself with the digital world. Be careful not to share your address, phone number, passwords (etc.) with anyone on the internet. Although this area of safety is quite strongly acknowledged at this time, it is still important to let personal information remain personal. Lastly, never do or say anything online that you wouldn’t want to do or say to someone’s face. This emphasizes the “H” in the THINK policy for online activity. Is it hurtful? It is important to remember to treat others the same as we would when we are with them in real life. Many bullies hide behind a screen and say things online that they wouldn’t even think about doing in person. We should always be aware of others’ feelings, even online.
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 is not one specific thing I would do differently online. I was lucky enough to receive a lot of education on leaving a positive digital footprint from a very young age, so I never put myself in a situation online where I was unsafe or uncomfortable because of my choices. I just hope that this type of education will continue to be a focus in and out of school, especially with the technology-based direction our world is headed in.