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What is a digital footprint?

Updated: Nov 7, 2018

Some esafety tips to help you maintain a positive reputation online

A digital footprint is a trail of data you create while using the Internet. In includes the websites you visit, emails you send, and information you submit to online services. A footprint can be different from your digital reputation, in so far as your footprint may be anonymous or unintentional.

A “passive digital footprint” is a data trail you unintentionally leave online. For example, when you visit a website, the web server may log your internet address, which identifies your Internet service provider and your approximate location.

While your internet address may change and does not include any personal information, it is still considered part of your digital footprint. A more personal aspect of your passive digital footprint is your search history, which is saved by some search engines while you are logged in.

So no matter what you do online it’s important that you know what kind of trail you’re leaving, and what the possible effects can be. How are you maintaining online integrity?

Here are some tips to consider:

  • Limit the amount of personal information you share online. (Keep your address, phone number and birthday private)

  • Safeguard your password and keep it private.

  • Use a wide range of passwords, and record them offline somewhere only you can find them.

  • Set up your privacy settings and monitor them regularly.

  • Disable location services.

  • Ignore: Do not reply to any incidents of cyberbullying but do save and document the threats and report them.

  • Seek counsel from your friends and family if feeling unsafe about a situation online.

  • Report cyberbullying events to the ISP and to any website used in the cyberbullying event.

  • Block others’ access to your online accounts if bullied online.

  • Refrain from posting content that might put you or your family and friends in danger.

  • Refrain from leaving hurtful comments on posts, images or videos.

  • Take care when using hashtags (#). Depending on your privacy settings, hashtags are searchable on the internet.

  • Log out of your internet accounts.

  • Pause before posting.

  • Do not upload anything online when you are angry or upset or frustrated.

  • Make sure you live a balanced life. Do other activities you enjoy away from the computer.

  • Know who you are communicating with online.

  • When creating a profile, be smart about the private information you provide.

  • Remember that information you post online can never be taken back.

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