Online reputation – taking care of your digital footprint, advice for young people

14 Nov 2017 Becca Cawthorne

From applying to universities to getting a job, it’s important to have a positive digital footprint. A digital footprint is the mark that you leave behind when using the internet and can shape your online reputation. Here are our top tips to help young people with their digital footprint.

  • Search yourself:
    Google yourself to see what information is on the web about you. A Google search will show all of your public profiles, images and any other content that is linked to your name online. If content you don’t like appears in this search then you can take the necessary steps to remove it, and if any of your social media profiles appear you can change the privacy settings of them.
  • Check your privacy settings
    It’s important to know who can see the information that you are sharing online on the websites you use. Most social networking sites have privacy settings to help you manage the content you share and who you share it with; you can decide if you want your posts to be shared with your online friends and followers only or with the public. Keep in mind that your friend’s content and their settings can also affect your digital footprint. If you need to remind yourself of how to set privacy settings, then download our social media checklists.
  • Deactivate or delete old profiles
    If you no longer use your profile on a website, social networking site or app make sure you deactivate it. Deactivating a profile will mean that the content on it will no longer be searchable. You won’t be able to access a deleted account and the content on it will no longer be searchable. There is also no risk of this account being hacked without your knowledge.  
  • Think before you post
    Before you post content online eg. a photo, a status update, think about whether you would want future employers, universities, teachers, or even your Nan seeing it? Would you be happy for others to post that type of content about you? You should be proud of everything you post online, remember once it is online it could be very difficult to remove permanently.
  • Keep it positive
    Get online and create a positive digital footprint! There are many ways in which you can do this, why not:
  • Start a blog
  • Create a sponsorship page and raise money for charity
  • Create a video to teach others a new skill
  • Even post photos of the great things you like to do online and offline

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