What is a Digital Footprint?

Our Digital Footprint can reveal alot about ourselves. It is essentially the traces that we leave behind while online.These traces can be used to create a portrait of ourselves revealing aspects such as our interests, likes, habits and personal information. As i’ve stated in one of my previous posts, the INTERNET a fundamental part of our lives today. We use it for several things such as:

  • Social Networking
  • Communication
  • Entertainment
  • Education
  • Shopping

While participating in all the activities above we are leaving information behind that can be use in both good and bad ways.

http://www.digitalfamilysummit.com/2012/safety-protecting-your-digital-footprint/

Reasons to care about your Digital Footprint

  1. Privacy: Our Digital Footprint consists of more information than we want to present to mere strangers.
  2. Can be tracked: Government Agencies have the ability to track our interactions with others on social media, online searches, our personal phone calls and even messages. This information can be misinterpretted or put out of context causing yourself to get into trouble. For example, Indiviuals who search for children pornography can be flagged and monitored.
  3. Protection of Reputation: What is put on the internet can never be fully erased.
  4. You can be Tracked: When we are using devices and websites while we have our Location Services switched on, we are potentially leaving a digital trail of where we visit, our current location and the places we frequent.
  5. Identity Theft: Thieves can simply analyse our social media accounts, search histories and our interacts with others online to get a pretty good understanding of our selves as individuals. With this knowledge they can create fake accounts or even manipulate others into think that they are actually you.

Although we are being taught to be wary of our Digital Footprint, there are several aspects of Digital Footprints that work in our favour.

Benefits:

  • Convenience: While online shopping have you ever came arcoss the mind blowing “suggested for you” or “we recommend” links? Although those items almost always seem to be exactly ehat you are looking for, This is not magic. Retailers can track your search history to find similar items to the ones you have been searching for.
  • History: Our search history is great for future reference. Have you ever accidentally closed a tab, regretted it, then realised that you can find it in your ‘History’? This is all thanks to the digital foot print you’ve left behind.
  • Saving Time: We contribute to our digital footprint by leaving our personal details such as passwords and users. Although having your passwords saved in order for all your accounts on certain devices to automatically log in isn’t the most secure thing to do, it is definitely very convenient and time saving.

All in all, I think we all need to be werey of our Digital Footprint. There are both downsides and benefits of having a digital identity. However, I believe we need to pay attention to and put emphasis on the information and tracks that we are leaving behind.

References:

Melissa. Safety: Protecting your digital footprint. Retrieved from http://www.digitalfamilysummit.com/2012/safety-protecting-your-digital-footprint/

Retrieved from http://www.internetsociety.org/your-digital-footprint-matters

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