Once something is published or shared online, it can be there forever. Understanding your digital footprint helps you choose and control what you leave online for others to find. Every time you're online, create a record of any information you've seen or created. This is known as a fingerprint.
If a person walks on sand or snow and leaves footprints, they don't last long. However, that is not true in the case of fingerprints. They cover a person's online activities. A fingerprint, sometimes called a digital shadow or electronic fingerprint, refers to the trail of data left behind when using the Internet.
It includes the websites you visit, the emails you send, and the information you send online. A fingerprint can be used to track a person's online activities and devices. Internet users create their digital footprint actively or passively. Your child's digital footprint and the way they behave on the Internet, their digital citizenship, are important because teenagers have grown up with technology around them and they still don't know that their actions go far beyond that blog comment or Facebook post they just left.
In the educational field, digital literacy classes designed around the digital trail would accept that living life today means generating data. It's vital to know the potential negative effects of your digital footprint, but it's just as important to know how you can manage your fingerprint to stay safe. Using the metaphor of digital wakefulness to illustrate digital flows could help us recognize the futility of ongoing calls to “think carefully” before publishing and sharing information. A positive digital footprint can bode well for them in the future and teens could use their digital footprint as an opportunity to create their own brand.
A bad decision made in a fraction of a second can damage your child's fingerprint and follow him into adulthood, so it's of utmost importance to teach your child about good digital citizenship and social media etiquette. Managing your child's digital footprint means having honest conversations about good digital citizenship and following proper social media etiquette. You can't stress enough the importance of your child's fingerprint, especially now that college admissions and employers routinely scan candidates' digital behavior. An example of a fingerprint could be browsing history, search history, “likes”, text messages, tagged photos and videos, basically anything that leaves a digital trail that can be linked to you.
Changing conversations from the fingerprint to the new metaphor of the fingerprint will not in itself generate a culture of collective responsibility.