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Kids and even parents need to know that whenever they go online, they leave a digital footprint. It is like a trail on the Internet. When you leave an imprint in real life, for instance, your footsteps, you can always wipe it. But it is not the same on the Internet. You can never erase this digital footprint. Teenagers should be highly aware of it since they are the ones who are spending a lot of time on social media. They are growing up in a digital era, where they can click pictures and post them on the Internet in very little time.
We often hear elders saying how lucky they are because smartphones weren’t invented when they were kids. Such things can make us realize the negative impact of electronic gadgets on today’s generation. Let’s understand what we mean by digital footprints. It refers to a person’s activities on the Internet that leave an unerasable trail on the Internet or the device that can be used to identify the device or more things.
How to know your digital footprint?
You leave some things behind when you do simple things on the Internet, like casual browsing and posting. We are unaware of it almost all the time, but we contribute more to our digital footprint every day when we do basic things like logging into the Internet. All these things combine and make up a virtual portrait of your social life.
The digital footprint can have a negative impact on many areas of the life of a teenager. It includes job opportunities, public relations, and many other regions.
How to improve the digital footprint?
There are simple rules teens should follow to have a decent digital footprint. All in all, you need to make smart choices to have a positive digital footprint. It will even help teens succeed in their lives and career. As a parent, when you are talking to your children, give them these tips for them to follow:
Browse Smartly: It will be best not to visit the sites that look fishy or make the child nervous or unsure about the content. Similarly, they must also avoid visiting sites that have adult content. So, if your child is at a friend’s place and sees someone visiting such sites, they should inform an adult about it instantly.
Switch on the privacy settings: Social media apps like Facebook do not have the best privacy settings, and they have often been criticized for it. Every social media website, app, and platform has online privacy settings. Some of the most basic and essential steps you should take to maintain your privacy and not befriend unknown people, and keeping your account private.
Be accountable and responsible: Whatever the condition, do not reveal sensitive and personal information on social media platforms. And the most crucial thing, give it a thought before posting something on social media. Whether it is a post, a comment, a reply, or anything, know that it is easily accessible and public.
What are the things that we cannot help at all?
Teenagers should take precautions to minimize their online activities’ visibility, but some things are not in our hands. The Internet is a public place, and we cannot control certain things. It is why you should tread carefully, and here are the things that one cannot help:
Posts and photo uploads
When you post a photo online, it becomes the website’s property on which you are posting the picture. Platforms like Facebook don’t do anything with your photos except creating birthday cards and memory lanes. But, it will always be online on their servers, and you cannot do anything about it. Most of us might be thinking that the photo is off the grid when we delete it, but sadly, it is not so easy. When you delete an image, other users and yourself won’t be able to see it again on the platform. But it is still on their servers.
It is associated with all actions on all devices that we use to access the net. Police and other agencies use these to find the device that criminals use. Similarly, hackers can use it to steal data from your computer or inject a virus into it. The only way to hide your IP address is by using a VPN. Other methods include using challenging software and various difficult approaches.
Social media is not entirely wrong.
When teenagers get to know about all these things, it might scare them. Thus, it is equally essential to remind your children that there are also many opportunities on social media. An overall positive digital footprint can help them out greatly in the future. Teenagers can also use it to build and develop a brand for themselves.
There are ways they can build a positive digital footprint. For instance, joining an online educational forum, building and maintaining a blog site about their interests, and using sites to publish their extracurricular work like musical and artistic projects.
These were all the main things about digital footprints you should be aware of as a parent. One of the best ways to keep your children safe online is by using parental control software like Avosmart. This app is a great tool, and it will help a lot in blocking sites and apps that are not suitable for children.