In the modern days, the use of internet has become quite essential in the running of day to day activities. The students have turned out to be the most dependent people on the usage of internet. The term digital footprint is used to mean a set of digital activities such as communications and other actions that include the utilization of personal data that which leaves traces on the computer, the internet or any other digital device and are unique to a certain individual.
Just like fingerprints, digital footprints are uniquely associate to a single person. The effects of the digital footprint are thus clear from the definition side of it. Students spend most of their time using the internet and engaging in online activities like social media without knowing the danger that they have put themselves in. Besides being beneficial, internet presence can be severely harmful to an individual.
Some of the negative effects of digital footprints to students include:
a) Scholarship Rejection: Some students end up losing their scholarships due to their past internet activities. A student might have shared a shameful and disgraceful comment, post or picture on a social media platform. If a scholarship body asks the student to provide them with his or her social media profile or address, the body will find out the past internet activities of the student. This will result in an automatic disqualification.
b) College Admission: During the admission of a student to a college or any institution of higher learning, the registration officer usually go through the profile of their students to see their activities on the internet. If they find a disgraceful and immature comment or post in the social media profile of a student, the student will be rejected.
c) Identity theft: There are students who like sharing much of their personal information online. This puts a student at a high risk of exposing his or her full identity thus liable to identity theft. Identity theft is a new kind of cybercrime that is on the rise and has resulted in many tragic situations.
d) Internship and employment: These are the most crucial events in the life of a student. However, the digital footprint can cost a student an internship or a job opportunity. In companies and organizations where students apply for internships or jobs, their social media profiles are always reviewed by their employers. Any previous internet activities that do not reflect maturity and upright behavior leads to an automatic rejection.
The discussion above provides an insight of how injurious digital footprints can be to students. This then calls for a proper management of digital footprint. Every student needs to learn how to manage his or her digital footprint to ensure that they remain anonymous on the internet.
Below are some of the things that you need to do to protect your digital footprints.
1) Protecting your personal data. This is an easy way to ensure that your identity is not disclosed. One can protect his or her personal data by not using his or her actual name, address, phone number and bank card numbers. In addition, a student should not disclose his or her personal information like passwords to others. This way your information will be kept safe in you.
2) Thinking through before posting something. It is proper and advisable that one should take the time to think about the effect of the comment or a post that he or she is intending to post online before posting it. This will assist one filter information that can put his or her life in jeopardy. Most of the posts made online are very difficult to erase.
3) Utilize your privacy settings. All the social media platforms have privacy settings that assist the user in controlling the audience that can have access to their posts. This will help especially in the cases of identity theft. The privacy settings are effective in securing social media accounts, and yet many students have no idea of their existence.
4) You should google yourself. This step looks weird, but it has greater benefits than one can imagine. One should know how strangers can know about them or her if they decide to google them. By doing so, one will be able to adjust the mistakes that are available and improve their security.
5) Minimize the number of social media platforms that you are in. Being on many social media platforms than you can handle is a loss end to your digital footprints. Students should only use the social media platform that they are frequent in.
6) In case you are required to use many accounts, you should have a Password Keeper. If you have very many accounts, you can find it difficult to remember all the passwords. A password keeper is a convenient place where to store passwords for all their accounts is safe.
7) Ensure that your software programs are all up to date. The loophole for a digital footprint is the presence of a virus in your devices. Students should ensure that they update their software and protect them from viruses using the best antiviruses.
8) Learn to use stronger passwords. The best tool for hackers is easy passwords that people use for their social media accounts. A strong password should contain a capital letter, a number, and a special character. By using strong passwords, students protect their personal information from being accessed illegally.
9) Do a regular checkup of the cookies in browsers. It is possible for one to see the sites that one has allowed cookies. After accessing the list of these sights, a student should block all the sights that are still sending cookies.
10) Use a secondary email. Students should learn to have secondary emails whenever they are opening new accounts to social media platforms. When you decide to use custom essay writing service to find a help in writing your essay, you’ll find this really useful.
11) Use cookie managing tools and other useful extensions. Students can also some available tools that can help them manage their digital footprint. There are browser extensions that help on manage the cookies, which can compromise the security of their online activities.
Managing and protecting personal information should be a priority for every student. The activities that happen online can seem insignificant when on is doing it, but they can have they harmful and heartbreaking effect in the future. Managing your digital footprint can seem complicated task, but it is worth it. The cost of not following the digital footprint protection and management measure is far much high. Students should ensure that they have taken into consideration all the points mentioned in the discussion above for their security and future benefits. The teacher, on the other side, should take the responsibility of informing the students on what they need to keep their digital presence secure.