Tracking Your Child's Digital Footprint
Unlike sandy beaches and muddy playgrounds, no tides or winds sweep across the internet to erase any trace of where your child has gone. Footsteps in the sands of cyberspace don't easily fade – are you and your child aware of the tracks he's been laying?
What You Need to Know:
A person's “digital footprint” describes the amount of online content – e.g. words, photos, audio, video – that is traceable to a given individual. There are three especially important elements to these “footprints” you and your child should be aware of, and use to proceed with caution:
- They can be permanent, as is the case with all information on the Internet.
- More and more individuals are actively seeking out digital footprints and allowing the findings to inform opinions and actions.
- One out of every two people you know are looking at your and others' digital footprint.
- 53% of all adults
- 26% of all hiring managers
- 50% of college graduate job recruiters
- 26% of college admission offices
- Many of these statistics admitted that what they learned online caused them to decline making offers to applicants in question.
Thus, internet users must be especially careful of all content on the web that could reflect on them in any way. It is very unlikely that any inadvertent damage can later be undone – yet very likely that someone will stumble upon it eventually.
How You Can Help:
Recommendations for maintaining an unblemished digital footprint:
- Watch what you put online! And warn your child to do the same.
- Beware if your child under 14 has a MySpace account, or your child under 13 has a Facebook – since those are the minimum allowable ages for those sites, this would suggest that your child has falsified birthday information in eagerness to develop an online identity. Even if your child is of age, it is up to your discretion whether you're ready for him to engage in “social networking.”
- If anyone posts a slanderous profile of you or your child on the internet, you can take a screen-shot, save it and back it up to your computer for evidence, then work toward its removal by contacting the site that houses the profile or working with a company that removes such material professionally.
- Set aside time occasionally to do extensive searches on yourself and your children, understand the context of any information you find, and make sure none of it is inaccurate or hurtful to your family in any way.
For more on this topic, please see the full article:
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