What is a digital footprint?
A digital footprint is anything which is posted on the internet. It could include text, posts, images or other personal details. On some platforms such as Facebook, once data is uploaded the user no longer owns the data or images. As such, the content can be passed onto third parties without the owner’s consent.
Why does this matter?
If your child posts images of himself or herself on the internet or someone else which you as a parent would not be happy with, the images or data are no longer within your control. This data or image can then be forwarded to anyone to see. Future employers now look at social media sites to check whether what applicants are saying about themselves tallies with their on-line social media content. Inappropriate posts and content will influence the decisions of employers to interview. Also, employees who bring their employer’s reputation into disrepute have also lost their job.
In some cases, people have been prosecuted for inappropriate posts on social media sites such as Twitter about other people. As parents you should be aware of how your child uses social media sites and that they understand the social responsibilities involved in doing so. It is possible to the police to trace malicious posts back to the user via the unique computer IP address. Therefore, young people need to be aware of how their actions could affect both themselves and others both now and in the future.
- posting inappropriate images of themselves or others on the internet;
- Sending or forwarding inappropriate images of themselves or others via a phone;
- posting inappropriate posts/texts or other content via phone or social media/forum about themselves or others;
- on-line bullying of others or bringing the reputation of an organisation or individual into disrepute.