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Digital footprint

The internet remembers more about you than you might expect. It leaves a trail of data, known as your digital footprint.

In short:

  • Your ‘digital footprint’ is the name given to the unique data that’s created from your online activities.
  • It’s also the first thing many people will see if they google you.
  • It’s worth checking your digital footprint matches up with the image of yourself you’d like to present.

What is a digital footprint?

The internet can be a great place for forming connections or new ideas. It also remembers more about you than you might expect. That means some of the things you post or engage with can resurface when you least expect them.

Internet experts call this trail of data your ‘digital footprint’. Your digital footprint can include anything from old photos to comments on public posts, and it can be one of the first things people experience of you online.

The good news is, there are plenty of ways you can manage your digital footprint to make it match with the image of yourself you’d like to present. 

How to manage your digital footprint

Check what’s out there

Googling your name will let you see what people, like your potential employers or friends, can find out about you. This can be anything from your local sport club making a post about your team on social media, to your own personal online accounts you have used, both currently and in the past. 

Get posts/photos/videos taken down

If there are posts that you don’t want people to find online, try asking the people who created them to take them down. If you or a friend have forgotten the details to an old account, it’s still worth contacting the platform with identifying data and asking for their help.

Check your privacy settings

If you’re surprised by what you find about yourself online, it’s a good time to change your privacy settings. Check out The eSafety Guide to find out more about the privacy settings for particular social media platforms and how to change them.

Set boundaries on tagging

If you don’t want to be tagged in a photo or post you’re uncomfortable with, you can un-tag yourself or ignore a tag request. 

Think before you engage

The things you like at 17 may not be what you like when you’re 24. Before you engage with a post or page, ask yourself if what you’re doing is something you want to be associated with long-term. You may like a page as a joke, but it’s good to remember: others may not see the funny side. 

Last updated: 26/02/2024