A digital footprint or electronic footprint is the trail of data you leave behind when using the internet. This footprint can either be active or passive. Active digital footprints are those that are left intentionally by the user, while passive footprints are collected without the user knowing. As an internet user, it is essential to understand what digital footprints are, and why they matter.
Protecting Your Digital Footprint
First, it is essential to understand how you can protect your digital footprint. A great step to take is to use an IT security program. Such programs will help protect your online accounts from hacking attempts, and this will prevent criminals from accessing your data. Also, it will prevent unintended parties from accessing your content and information. It is especially important to use IT security programs if you regularly connect to public Wi-Fi services.
Your IT security program should also contain an anti-virus. Lots of criminals use malware to access your digital footprint, and these are installed on devices as viruses. With an effective anti-virus, you will not need to worry about such malware. There are many antiviruses you can install on their devices, and many are quite affordable.
Why Does Your Digital Footprint Matter?
It is important to protect your digital footprint since it can be used for malicious activities such as the creation of fake online identities. Also, you should note that once your information becomes public, you will have very little control on how it is used. For example, public Facebook posts cannot be hidden from people later on. It is also worth noting that your digital footprint can affect your reputation, and this can have serious consequences in the real world. For example, companies may not be willing to work with someone who is experiencing backlash for something they said online. Universities and other esteemed institutions may also check your social media posts before they accept you.
Educate Your Children on Digital Footprints
Children nowadays start using the internet at a very young age, and they may not know the consequences of various actions. While monitoring their online activity may be important, it is equally essential to teach them about digital footprints. They should know that every website they visit leaves a digital trail. It is important to let them know that the information they post online is permanent or semi-permanent, and it can end up having serious consequences for years to come. You should let them know that they should always ask for permission before tagging images of friends or family. Also, let them know that talking negatively about individuals or brands may be illegal and can get them in trouble.
Your digital footprint is simply the data that is collected as you use the internet. It is important to protect your digital footprint as it can be used for malicious purposes. A good way to prevent the misuse of your data is to use an IT security program and anti-virus software. If you have children, make sure you educate them about digital footprints.