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5 Tips To Guide Your Children About Their Digital Footprint

Summary
caregiver
This article informs caregivers about the essential information about digital footprint that their children need to know. It guides caregivers with a list of tips on digital footprint related concepts and practices that can be implemented to daily life practices.
Digital Footprint: A Good Mark Is All What You Need

Have you ever heard of “digital footprint”? Do most of internet users know that every user has a digital footprint? Can anyone access this world without leaving their own unique mark? How can anyone be tracked online? These questions might be new to the browsers of cyberspace, but it is a scientific established fact and below are some details about what this footprint means and its effect.

What Is a “Digital Footprint”?

It is the footprint that every person accessing the internet has, and which cannot be eliminated or erased as it is the case in real life. The large amounts of information provided by users constitute what is called the “digital footprint”, including all records, actions and activities left behind by the internet users, such as shares, photos, posts, website logs and emails received.

Who Has a “Digital Footprint”?

Every internet user has a digital footprint that is created every time they go online to post comments, share videos or otherwise, which means that a footprint is what is left of the user’s online activities which cannot be eliminated: The footprint is out there as long as the user is present online.  Usually, it is normal for every internet user to leave behind many actions that refer to them during web-browsing. Advertising agencies often analyze such footprints in order to convey specific advertising messages that meet the user’s interests. Such footprints are not only limited to cookies through which one can track the user’s online behaviors; in fact, a digital footprint is currently a widespread technique that identifies the computer’s identity through the web browser.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a US group that defends civil rights, explained that “digital footprinting is about analyzing the web browser’s unique traits and aspects, such as the web version, language, screen resolution and types of fonts installed. It is based on such data that the digital fingerprint of a computer is made up, and the plugins in the web browser are evaluated”. “A digital footprint is usually unique as it includes more than 50 types or factors of traits and characteristics. The browser’s digital footprint can be accessed by the user through the test page of that US foundation”, the Foundation added.

How Am I Contributing to my Child’s Digital Footprint? What kind of information can be posted online about your child? How can you hide it in photos? And how do you contribute to his/her own digital footprint?

You create a digital footprint for you children once you post about them online. Thus, a digital footprint is the mark you leave behind when you use the internet and can create your online reputation and determine how the others see it. A footprint can be positive or negative and affect the way you look at people now and down the road. What Are Personal Data? And How Can It Be Hidden in Photos? Personal data is the photos, videos or information you choose to share online about your child. However, you must consider what kind of information to share. As a result, personal data must definitely appear in the photos and videos you are posting, for example, the name of school appearing on the school costume in the photo, the home address which is revealed from the house number or street name in the background, the birth date whether in the photo’s background or in the birthday invitations and parties and the phone number appearing on documents in the background or on the family pet’s collar.Y

What is the Role of the Privacy Settings?

Most social media have privacy settings that help you manage the content you share and whom you share with. You can decide whether you want all your social media followers to see your posts or only a limited number of followers, friends or public. You need to be aware that your friends’ content and settings can affect your child’s digital footprint, and that your privacy will become in the public domain. So be careful of who you have accepted as a friend, and decide if you want them to see all what you have posted.  

How to Ensure a Safe Online Posting?

It is very important to communicate with the children and explain to them how to best use the internet, why keeping a bright footprint through the online activities is important and necessary, how to build a positive digital footprint and how can the others positively contribute to it. Therefore, based on such principles, the family agreement has an extremely important role in deciding what information and photos to share online as a family, allowing each family member to be bound by promises and moral obligations with respect to their online behaviors and how to share and post. 

Last Remedy: Disabling Java The user must take simple actions to prevent a digital footprint from being created, by disabling the Java plug-in in the web browser, which makes it difficult for the advertising agencies to read the types of fonts installed in the computer.

The user can also disable the Flash Player plug-in, by using Flashblock, and enable it only when needed. In general, the user must check extensions in the web browser and disable those which are not in use. The add-ons for Mozilla Firefox are also featured in the “Extensions” list and plug-ins in Google Chrome can be used through the command line and command insertion. «chrome://plugins/».

How Can Be the Digital Footprint Useful for Caregivers?

Based on all what is mentioned, it remains that the digital footprint has benefits for the caregivers. For example, by browsing the browser archives, we can discover the websites visited by the child. We can also google our child’s name to see his/her activity online.

Conclusion: Privacy Is a Must Back to main topic, privacy is a human right and we must have online privacy. Privacy can be defined as the user’s ability to store his/her information and data away from any unauthorized person. The privacy policies are about what you have accepted when you clicked “accept”. But did you read what you have accepted? When we provide our personal content- photos, emails, biographies- we must really know what we are allowing them to do with it. The prospects of online privacy are highly blurred, and technicians face many obstacles in ensuring privacy for users.

However, we must not neglect what is already present, including dealing reasonably and carefully with this phenomenon and helping our children understand it and adapt with it as vigilantly as possible, without overprotecting their privacy. This is a very complicated task because it is difficult to control and understand this vast world that interconnects the private and the public, but one still has the right to protect oneself from defamation and propagation.

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Last edited
10-07-2020
Reading time
8 Minutes

Call to Action

Increase your and your loved ones' online privacy by learning about digital footprint and informing your children.