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As a follow up to last week, I am continuing to think about my privacy online and my fear of sharing. I have a Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc., but I find myself rarely posting to these Social Media outlets and instead just looking at other peoples’ posts. I fear posting things online because of the digital footprint/tattoo that is left, so I instead post nothing at all. This course has been helpful so far in opening the door to sharing ideas with others and all of the ideas that can be found online, by those brave enough to share their ideas.

When I first moved abroad, my goal was to write a travel blog. I had a really hard time getting this going because I often thought things like, “This is just my normal life, why would anyone want to read it?” I didn’t think of the other perspective of allowing others to use my travel blog as a resource for their traveling. That is where I believe my biggest mind shift has come thus far. I do have important ideas to share and it doesn’t matter if/who actually reads them, because it takes a big step to begin even sharing them in the first place. I find this to be true when teaching my students about writing as well. They often have trouble figuring out what to write about and sharing their ideas. Although just on paper, I do understand the struggle of putting your ideas down where anyone can have the opportunity to read them.

A couple of wonderings I had during this weeks assignment:

  1. What is a digital footprint?
  2. In what ways can I improve my digital footprint?
  3. How can I teach my students the importance of a digital footprint from DAY 1? Is it ever too late?

So as I went about asking myself these questions – I also went on a hunt for answers.

One- So I googled my name and was surprised. In my opinion, nothing came up that would cause any harm to my professional identity. I had my twitter accounts, my COETAIL accounts, Pinterest, my school art blog, my Youtube newsletters, and a Prezi I made a few years ago. Okay – seemed good so far, although I knew a Google search wasn’t the only option when understanding a digital footprint.

What is a digital footprint?

Simply put, a digital footprint is the record or trail left by the things you do online. Your social media activity, the info on your personal website, your browsing history, your online subscriptions, any photo galleries and videos you’ve uploaded — essentially, anything on the Internet with your name on it. Digital natives like today’s students rarely think twice about putting their names on things online, so their footprints can be pretty wide. – Justin Boyle in 11 Tips for Students to Manage Their Digital Footprints

I watched this video too, because I am an audio/visual learner.

So – I am clear on my Google search… but oh no!!!!! Honestly, it’s embarrassing to admit this as well, but we’re all learning together so… I didn’t realize how much my digital footprint even encompasses!

In what ways can I improve my digital footprint?

After week 2, I have began looking at the dates of the articles that I am reading to make sure that they are recent. I found this article by Holly Brockwell from The Guardian, Your Online Identity is Precious. Here’s How You Protect It and thought about the different steps I am taking to protect my identity. I don’t play social media games, but I get a lot of invites from people that do. I sometimes do the dodgy online quizzes… I don’t accept friend requests from strangers, but I do have a lot of friends that I just met that one random time. I don’t delete old posts. I don’t have a password manager. I do use two-factor authentication and I do get scared of posting online. I have a lot of work or “online closet cleaning” to do.

It’s funny that I can read that article and see that I am not following most of the procedures to have a safe digital footprint – but still feel like I am not doing a terrible job. Although, one time I got hacked on Facebook. Someone from Turkey hacked my account and changed my profile picture and my settings. It was NOT easy to contact Facebook and get everything returned to me. It just made me think why would someone want access to my Facebook account? But now I see it. With access to my Facebook account, that gives hackers access to everything that I use that I login with Facebook. That is a lot of access of my personal information!

How can I teach my students the importance of a digital footprint from DAY 1? Is it ever too late?

Overall, what I have taken away from this week and what I will be implementing into my UBD is that it is not ever too late to teach digital footprints to students. The younger we begin teaching students about digital footprints, the better habits they will have and use throughout their life. This is not a one and done type of lesson. This is knowledge that will need to be repeatedly taught to students, families, and teachers, year after year. Especially, as we continue to grow and expand our online presence.