It’s easy to share everything about our lives online these days, but this can sometimes come back to haunt us. Here are some things you and your child should consider to make sure they leave a positive digital footprint.
What is a ‘digital footprint’?
Our digital footprint is everything we share and do online. This includes all our social media activity – from posting statuses on Facebook to commenting on Instagram photos – as well as comments we leave on forums and other more traditional websites.
Most of this activity is harmless, but people are susceptible to posting ill-advised selfies or tweets that can end up impacting us in unforeseen ways. Imagine your child being turned down by their preferred university over something they posted online years ago.
Thankfully, a digital footprint can equally be a force for good for your child. With the steps below, you can help them to project a positive image of themselves to the world.
Five steps towards a healthy digital footprint
1. Check their online presence regularly
Type your child’s name into a search engine and see what comes up. You can also check their posts on social media sites by logging out of their account and searching their name. This shows how much of their profile is visible to a stranger online. If there’s more than expected, you might want to consider changing the privacy settings on the social media sites they’re using.
2. Consider who and what they like and follow
The social media accounts they follow or like say a lot about them. Whether celebrities, companies or social commentators, it will paint a picture of their interests and beliefs, whether accurate or not. It’s important they’re careful about liking specific posts online too. A post might appear to be harmless, but if linked to a controversial, or even extremist group, your child could be making an association to something more sinister.
3. Nurture their creativity
Social media and other platforms are a great way to showcase your child’s talents. Whether they’re keen writers and want to start a blog or they’re into photography and videos and want to share their work, encourage them to get online and get creative.
4. Show off their achievements
Having an online presence can be a great way for your children to keep a record of their achievements, whether it’s a photograph of them receiving an award, winning a netball tournament or performing in a show. It’s an online memory book that can be enjoyed for years to come.
5. Be aware before they share
It’s really important not to share contact details or post anything online that tells people where your child lives, goes to school or hangs out. Things that could give this away could be a photo in school uniform, an image that includes their house or house number – or a status saying they will be in a specific location at a certain time.
Read more about how to set up privacy settings here.
This article is by Parent Zone, the experts in digital life.