A digital footprint is a term that a majority of people are unfamiliar with, let alone young people. A digital footprint is basically a term given to everything that one leaves behind when doing anything on the internet. Digital footprints include usernames, passwords, browsing history, websites visited, posts published, images and videos uploaded and anything that one does through the internet. The lack of awareness about digital footprints can then, prove disastrous.
We live in a time where technology is embedded in our daily lives more than ever. The internet is something that has become an integral element of today’s world. The evolution of the smartphone has only further accelerated the progress of high-speed internet and made it that much more accessible.
The integration of the internet in our lives means that many people use it without giving it any second thought. The younger generation is the most vulnerable and dependent on the internet. It’s not at all uncommon to see young people glued to their smartphones using the internet in one form or the other.
Student’s especially need to be aware of managing their digital footprints properly. Since they are of the demographic that makes the most use of the internet, it’s important to be in control of what records they leave behind. So, to facilitate students, here are ten tips for managing digital footprints for students.
1) Use Privacy Setting
Privacy is a subject that has become a lot more important in the past few years. Social media giants like Facebook have been brought under the spotlight for misusing privacy. Just like in real life, it’s important for privacy to be maintained in the virtual world as well.
This focus on maintaining privacy has forced all types of social media platforms and websites to work towards providing users with privacy options. Students should make use of such privacy options. An individual’s privacy is important to avoid any harmful consequences in the future. There have been many cases of people being bullied or lives getting destroyed due to a breach of privacy.
2) Keep a Record of all Accounts
Making a list of all accounts, one makes on different websites, and social networks are important because each account leaves behind a trail. One should always know where his accounts exist and delete the ones that are no longer in use.
3) Don’t Overshare
People nowadays share moments of their personal life on social media consistently. There are no second thoughts given to anything shared on social media. But really, people should think twice before sharing anything on the internet. Oversharing could land anyone in trouble, especially things like residential address or personal pictures, etc.
4) Use a Password Keeper
A password keeper helps students to not only keep all their various password in the same place but also keep track of where their accounts exist. The bonus of password keepers is the added security provided by them.
5) Monitor Linked Accounts
With developments in web technologies, using a social account to sign up for various websites has become a norm. It’s much more convenient just to press a single button to link up an account than going through a registration process after all. But this convenience can all too easily turn into carelessness. So, keep track of where linked accounts are used and remove any unused or unnecessary ones.
6) Use an Anonymous Email Account
A great strategy for maintaining a clean digital footprint is to use a second email account for all things on the internet one isn’t comfortable with, like communication with an unknown person.
7) Know the Terms and Conditions
Yes, that long writing labelled ‘Terms and Conditions’ we all skip when signing up for something. Maybe it’s better not to do that, and instead, read what we are signing up for.
8) Everything on the Internet Exists Forever
Students should know that whatever they publish on the internet is going to be a part of it forever. Automated backups are made within seconds after publishing. Therefore, nothing should be published on the internet without thinking twice.
9) Searches are Social
Records on the internet aren’t only kept with what a user publishes or posts. Even searches are taken into account for better-personalized ads and user targeting. A user searching for a particular car is shown more ads about the said car, just like a student who searches for ‘essay help UK’ is shown ads relating to essay writing. The best way to maintain privacy with searches is by using private search engines like DuckDuckGo.
10) Use Tools
The added focus towards privacy has witnessed the birth of many online tools and extensions to aid in managing one’s digital footprints. Make use of these tools to ensure a clean digital footprint.