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Your digital reputation

Your digital reputation is the digital footprint created by all the things you say and do online, as well as what others post about you. 

The people and sites you follow, the content you post, like or share, and the comments you make, all contribute to your digital reputation.

Your digital reputation can affect your friendships, relationships and even your job prospects for the rest of your life, so it's very important that you are careful about the picture you paint of yourself online.

Tagged photos, blog posts and social media interactions will all shape how you are perceived by others, now and in the future.

 

What you need to know

  • Once something is online it can be very difficult to remove and can be easily and quickly shared.
  • Images and words can be misinterpreted and altered as they are passed around.
  • Content intended for your small group of friends can create issues when shared with others outside the group.
  • You need to consider how you manage both your own messages and images, and those of others.
  • Privacy settings on social media sites help control what others can see of your online life, but they do not protect you completely. 

How to protect your digital reputation

  • Stop and think about any content before you post or send. 
  • Treat others online as you would like to be treated.
  • Set your profile to private so that only your friends have access to your photos and posts — and check every now and then to make sure the settings have not changed. 
  • Keep an eye on photos of you that have been tagged by your friends and remove any that are offensive.

Remember your online information could be there forever and may end up being seen by people you don't know, including potential employers.

How to clean up a digital reputation

  • Search yourself — type your name into a search engine and see what comes up. If you find things that you thought were private, check your privacy settings.
  • If you are uncomfortable about other people’s photos or videos where you have been tagged, try to un-tag yourself or ask for them to be taken down. 

Cleaning up your digital reputation can be difficult but it is not impossible. You may not be able to erase the past completely, but you can build a better image of yourself online over time by being more aware of what you say and do. 

Tips for young people

Anyone can Google your name or check out your social media accounts, including potential employers, universities and others. 

Check out what you can do to protect your digital reputation.

Audio

Question: Are employers looking at our online profiles?


I think every employer
now Googles your name,

and like checks your Facebook
before they give you a job,

which is a bit scary.

They'll type your name into Google,

and they'll look for
your digital footprint.

And they'll make a decision on that.

And a lot of people don't really realise

just how easy it is to
get a full picture of you

just from a quick Google search.

My boss told me that,
yeah, he Googled me.

He looked at my Facebook profile

just to get an understanding
of who I am as a person, so.

My good friend, she actually,

we went skiing over the Christmas holiday,

and took a topless picture
on top of a mountain.

And when she got back her placement school

said she couldn't come on
placement anymore to the school.

One of my mates had a profile picture,

when they were back when they're
like 17 with alcohol in it,

and the person who did the job interview

just didn't give him the job,

and they said that was the reason why, so.


Question: What happens when you Google Yourself?


If I google myself?

Oh, God.

No, I don't know if I want to.

What if something bad comes up?

It has nothing to do with me.

Oh, whoa.

No, there's like a picture of me.

Oh, yeah, there is.

There's like a picture
of me when I was like 12.

This is actually interesting,

cause I think I have all
of my posts on private,

but they're actually showing up anyways.

I don't think you're supposed
to be able to Google me.

Oh, my friends list is public.

I might change that.

All stuff I know of.

All things I've posted.

I'm well aware I posted, so.

I definitely say, put
everything on private.

You never know when you'll
need it to be on private.

So just put it on private.

What you need to know

Tips for parents and carers

Photos and videos of your child that you post or share on social media become part of their online footprint and can have an impact on their future digital reputation. So be careful about what and how you share. 

Read our tips for parents and carers — can I safely share photos of my kids online?

Information for teachers

Several of eSafety’s classroom resources can be used to help teach students about the importance of their digital footprint or digital reputation, including how to manage both their own messages and images and those of others. Check out: 

  • Be Deadly Online — teaching resources using short videos and posters created by and for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
  • Tagged — an award-winning short film supported by teaching resources for middle and upper secondary students.