Address Digital Footprints: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly - AVID Open Access (2023)

Technology is becoming a prominent part of our personal, academic, and professional lives. This can be good, bad, or ugly depending on how we use it. As teachers, we want to appropriately prepare students for their careers and future. A big part of our students’ lives—and probably our own, too—is their relationship with technology and the digital footprint they are leaving behind and how that footprint will impact their life currently and in the future. One way to think of a digital footprint is the data that accumulates about you online or that you share online.

Often in education, we only talk about the bad and ugly technology practices that students are using, and we are constantly using the word “no” or “don’t” with them. If we continue to promote a culture of “no” and “don’t,” we will not help students develop the good online practices that they will need to thrive in our society. They will not understand or have the opportunity to experience the good that can come from having a positive online presence.

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The Good

We know that the choices our students make today will shape their future and could possibly have long-lasting effects—positively or negatively—on their lives. That is why it is so important for us, as educators, to provide many opportunities for students to create positive digital footprints and empower them to continue to make good choices when they are on their own. Just like in this article, we do want to acknowledge and ensure that students are aware of the bad and ugly things that can happen as a result of negative digital footprints. However, our main focus should be on the good and how to amplify their amazing, positive selves. Below are a few strategies that you can use to help students engage in understanding and creating positive digital footprints:

  • Share examples with students of individuals who have created a positive online image and positive digital footprints.
  • Provide students with opportunities to create and post things that they are proud of to help promote themselves positively online. Consider the options below as possible activities for students.
    • Encourage students to create and post digital portfolios of their work.
    • Guide students through creating and sharing their digital eBinder.
      • The AVID eBinders site offers an eBinder template for you and your students to download as a starting point.
    • Create and post educational and positive YouTube videos, Instructables, podcasts, etc.
    • Share and allow students opportunities to practice the following five questions they should ask themselves before posting anything online:
      1. Is what I am posting true?
      2. Is what I am posting helpful?
      3. Is what I am posting inspiring?
      4. Is what I am posting necessary? Will it make the world better?
      5. Is what I am posting kind?

Address Digital Footprints: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly - AVID Open Access (1)

  • For younger (and even older) students, you can develop understanding and have positive conversations around digital footprints using picture books. Below are some great picture books to help students develop their understanding around digital citizenship and what a digital footprint is:
    • The Technology Tail: A Digital Footprint Story written by Julia Cook and illustrated by Anita DuFalla
    • Building a Digital Footprint written by Adrienne Matteson and illustrated by Rachael McLean
    • Chicken Clicking written by Jeanne Willis and illustrated by Tony Ross
    • Nerdy Birdy Tweets written by Aaron Reynolds and illustrated by Matt Davies
  • Communicate and collaborate with parents/guardians. It is important to create opportunities to involve them in the discussion of digital citizenship and specifically their child’s digital footprint. Work collaboratively to develop strategies around technology use that can be used at home and at school and create a common language. Make sure to focus on the positive aspects of their child’s digital life as well as the possible negative ones. Consider raising the topic with parents/guardians during a community forum or even during conferences. Many districts have shown the movies Screenagers or Screenagers Next Chapter, with guided discussions following the showing. These movies tend to focus on the “bad” and the “ugly” parts of digital footprints, so make sure to provide a balanced perspective with additional positive examples. Make sure that both parents/guardians and students understand how colleges and workplaces investigate the digital footprint of their potential students and/or employees in order to make decisions around admission and hiring. In many cases, having no online presence at all has the same outcome as having a negative online presence. It is very important that you, parents/guardians, and your students are all working together to help students create a positive online presence.
(Video) The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly of Avid Media Composer 6

The Bad

It is inevitable that students are going to make mistakes, and this is also true when students are using technology. When students do make a mistake, saying something like, “That is so terrible,” does not help students learn and grow. We need to empower them to be able to clean up their mistakes if, and more likely when, they are made. When we talk about a student’s digital footprint as something scary and horrible, that doesn’t help them learn how to use technology to empower themselves or how to deal with it when they make a mistake. We need to prepare students for as many situations as possible, so when they are on their own, they cannot only handle it, but thrive.

(Video) The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly of Avid Pro Tools 10

One way to help our students learn how to “clean up” their digital footprint is to teach them how to self-evaluate their own technology use, especially outside of school. Before having students look at their own, as a class you might choose a famous person and look through that person’s Twitter tweets, Instagram posts, etc. As a group, discuss the impression of the person based on what they have posted. What kind of image is the person portraying online? What does their digital footprint say about them? If their digital footprint is saying something negative, how might they change it? After trying it as a group, students can work as teams and look at another famous person and answer the same questions. Finally, have students independently look at their own digital footprint. Even if they are not posting updates themselves, it is very likely that there are still things posted about them.

It is important to emphasize with students how to create a positive digital footprint. If you put value and importance on a student’s digital footprint, then they will put value on it. It will become something that matters. As you begin to help students create and practice a positive digital footprint, start small. Have students focus on one or two specific skills at a time. Give students time to look at each other’s digital footprint and discuss the impression that it gives. Continually ask students if they are representing themselves in a positive way. Continually ask them, “How might the way you are being represented impact your future?”

The Ugly

While we need to focus on helping students create and practice a positive digital footprint, there are instances where a student’s online posts, or posts online about them, can lead to negative consequences. In conversations about digital citizenship, it is critical to make students aware of the ugly things that can happen and how to prevent them, as well. We must teach students, in collaboration with their parents/guardians, the following:

  • Why it is important to not post private information online
  • How to use privacy settings and how these settings impact the information they are sharing
  • How to check privacy policies to be aware of how their personal information may be shared
  • What to do if someone steals their identity
  • What to do if they are being cyberbullied
  • What the laws are around digital citizenship

You aren’t going to be able to teach all of these concepts at once. Some of these concepts are more appropriate for certain ages than they are for others. That said, it is important to teach digital citizenship at all grade levels and to provide opportunities for students to make mistakes under the watchful guidance of their teacher, rather than waiting until they are on their own, where the consequences may be much worse and more permanent.

There are many resources available to support you and the parents/guardians of your students. Common Sense Education has curriculum and lessons available for free. In addition, they have resources developed specifically for parents/guardians, as well. The following are several of the family tip sheets from Common Sense Education that focus on Digital Footprint and Identity, as well as Privacy and Security:

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FAQs

What are the positives and negatives of your digital footprints? ›

It refers to search history, browsing history, messages sent via social media, and others. On the one hand, this phenomenon implies benefits relating to saving login details, which contributes to convenience. On the other hand, a digital footprint has drawbacks, and endangered privacy is among them.

Is a digital footprint good or bad? ›

Your digital footprint can have a lasting impact on your reputation, relationships and employment opportunities (both positive and negative). Understanding how this works is an important step toward making this impact a positive one.

How would you explain the idea of digital footprints? ›

A digital footprint is data that is left behind when users have been online. There are two types of digital footprints which are passive and active. A passive footprint is made when information is collected from the user without the person knowing this is happening.

What are some digital footprint questions? ›

Here are our answers to 6 simple questions about your digital footprint.
  • What is a digital footprint? ...
  • Where is it stored? ...
  • Who can follow your digital footprint? ...
  • Why does your digital footprint matter? ...
  • When should you pay heed to your online activities? ...
  • How can you manage your digital footprint?
23 Oct 2018

How important is digital footprint? ›

A digital footprint can determine a person's digital reputation, which is now considered as important as their offline reputation. Employers can check their potential employees' digital footprints, particularly their social media, before making hiring decisions.

What are the benefits of digital footprint? ›

A digital footprint may help you develop a positive reputation online. For instance, when someone searches for you in a search engine using your name, the search results may list positive references about you. This can help you when seeking new professional positions or when developing an online brand.

How can digital footprint be improved? ›

Building a positive digital footprint
  1. Set your privacy settings. Knowing what should be public is just as important as knowing what should be private. ...
  2. Consider your future. ...
  3. Posting positively online. ...
  4. Think before you post.
31 Aug 2022

How is digital footprint bad for the environment? ›

Every time we log on and send an email is an increased demand for electricity. The more information a server is storing the more electricity is used. Additionally the tools we use to access the digital world, such as computers, phones and even smart watches all use valuable resources.

Why is digital footprint important for students? ›

It's also important for students to understand that their digital footprint can impact what people perceive about them and how they engage with them offline, now and in the future. Whether it's with a friend, an admissions counselor, or a future employer — disrespectful behavior online can have real-life consequences.

How can digital footprint affect your future? ›

Impact of negative digital footprints

Affect someone's opinion or perspective of you, and ruin friendships and romantic relationships. Impact your college admissions - college admissions officers visit an applicant's social media profile including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube to learn more about them.

Why are footprints so important? ›

Scientists can learn a lot from sites where human footprints have been found, including: Estimates of height, weight, and gait of the humans who made the footprints - which also tells us how many people made the footprints.

What is the purpose of footprints? ›

Helping to protect against lost or missing children, the identifying information can aid the child throughout his or her life into adulthood. And, much like fingerprints, footprints are a biometric, unique to each baby, so they can be used for identification throughout a lifetime.

What are 3 types of digital footprints? ›

Types Of Digital Footprints

Personally identifiable: The information linked to the individual's real name. Anonymous: Anonymous data collection. This type of digital footprint conceals the IP address. User input: The data that is generated as a result of user input.

What are the 2 types of digital footprint? ›

There are two types of digital footprints that you should be aware of: your active but also your passive footprint.

What are the four reasons to care about your digital footprint? ›

Four Reasons to Care About Your Digital Footprint - YouTube

What is your digital footprint example? ›

An active digital footprint refers to any time you've deliberately shared information about yourself online. Examples of active digital footprints include: Posting on social media. Logging in to a website.

Why is it important to reduce your digital footprint? ›

Your digital footprint includes all the information you share or that's collected about you online, and there can be a lot of it. Lots of the information you share can be seen by other people. It can be used to target adverts at you, or it could be seen by a potential employer years later.

How can you protect and reduce your digital footprint? ›

How to reduce and protect your digital footprint
  1. Delete old email accounts. ...
  2. Limit social media to reduce a digital footprint. ...
  3. Skip the survey. ...
  4. Create a spam email address. ...
  5. Remove yourself from people search sites. ...
  6. Set up stealth mode when you search.

How can we prevent footprint? ›

Most of these are fairly quick and easy to implement, meaning you can start living a more eco-friendly life in no time at all:
  1. Insulate your home. ...
  2. Switch to renewables. ...
  3. Buy energy efficient. ...
  4. Use less water. ...
  5. Change your diet. ...
  6. Turn off the lights. ...
  7. Cycle to work. ...
  8. Reduce, reuse, recycle.
12 Jan 2021

What impacts does your footprint have on the environment? ›

Our carbon footprint has a negative impact on the environment in multiple ways: It is the main cause of human-induced climate change, it contributes to urban air pollution, it leads to toxic acid rain, it adds to coastal and ocean acidification, and it worsens the melting of glaciers and polar ice.

How does technology affect your footprint? ›

The carbon footprint of our gadgets, the internet and the systems supporting them account for about 3.7% of global greenhouse emissions, according to some estimates. It is similar to the amount produced by the airline industry globally, explains Mike Hazas, a researcher at Lancaster University.

How does the human footprint affect the environment? ›

Humans impact the physical environment in many ways: overpopulation, pollution, burning fossil fuels, and deforestation. Changes like these have triggered climate change, soil erosion, poor air quality, and undrinkable water.

How is a digital footprint created? ›

A digital footprint is a trail of data you create while using the Internet. It includes the websites you visit, emails you send, and information you submit to online services. A passive digital footprint is a data trail you unintentionally leave online.

Does everyone have a digital footprint? ›

If you're active online, you have a digital footprint. Everyone does. Every comment made on social media, every news article shared, and every purchase made online contributes to a person's data trail.

What can we learn from footprints? ›

This is because footprints are a record of the living, moving animal, while the skeleton is simply the remains of its dead body. The footprints of any animal can tell you a number of things about it, such as its size, and how it stood, ran, or walked.

Can you change your digital footprint? ›

To reduce your digital footprint and the number of third parties with access to your information, start unsubscribing from the extra lists you don't really need. A Virtual Private Network (VPN) encrypts all data that you send and receive over the Internet.

What is footprints for life? ›

Footprints for Life™ is a six-week, classroom-based primary prevention program. The program is researched-based and designed to build developmental assets and teach skills through the use of puppets. The participants follow the story of a children's soccer team as the animal characters experience real-life situations.

What are the types of footprint? ›

Footprints are divided into environmental, economic, and social footprints, and combined environmental, social, and/or economic footprints (Čuček et al., 2012c).

What is a footprint called? ›

A "trackway" is a set of footprints in soft earth left by a life-form; animal tracks are the footprints, hoofprints, or pawprints of an animal.

What is the message do you learn from the story footprints without feet? ›

The lesson gives a message that misuse of science and its great discoveries can make even a brilliant scientist like Griffin a monster and a threatening lawless person.

Why is it called digital footprint? ›

A digital footprint, sometimes called a digital dossier, is the body of data that exists as a result of actions and communications online that can in some way be traced back to an individual. Digital footprints are sometimes broken down into active and passive data traces.

What are 6 types of digital footprint? ›

It has several distinct types:
  • Passive. A passive digital footprint is unintended by the user. ...
  • Active. Information that an individual purposely shares with the public or network of contacts such as a blog post.
  • Personally Identifiable. Information that can be traced to your real name.
  • Anonymous. ...
  • User Input. ...
  • Sensor Data.
27 Nov 2016

What is an example of a positive digital footprint? ›

That could mean giving community members, companies, volunteers, teachers or other students a shout-out online! Remember to always keep your personal information private, even when creating a positive digital footprint. Go positive, not personal!

› advice › online-safety ›


Digital footprints

https://www.familylives.org.uk › advice › online-safety
https://www.familylives.org.uk › advice › online-safety
Learn more about digital footprints and how it affects an online reputation when browsing the internet or on social media.
A digital footprint is traceable data created from your internet use. Your digital footprint is unique and includes all digital communications and activities yo...
A digital footprint, sometimes called a digital dossier, is the body of data that exists as a result of actions and communications online that can in some way b...

What are the negatives of digital footprint? ›

Impact of negative digital footprints

Affect someone's opinion or perspective of you, and ruin friendships and romantic relationships. Impact your college admissions - college admissions officers visit an applicant's social media profile including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube to learn more about them.

What is an example of a negative digital footprint? ›

A negative digital footprint consists of things that are on the internet that you would not want to be there. This could be something like a drunken photo, a silly comment or even logging on to an inappropriate website.

What are negative footprints? ›

The negative footprint illusion, which is the focus of the present research, occurs when people incorrectly estimate that a combined set of conventional items and environmentally friendly items has a lower environmental impact compared to the conventional items alone (i.e. A + B < A).

What are the dangers of digital footprints? ›

Your Digital Footprints Are More Than A Privacy Risk – They Could Help Hackers Infiltrate Computer Networks. A Texas A&M cybersecurity researcher explains how the information you share online can help hackers hone phishing attacks. Your digital footprints can give hackers clues about you that they can use to trick you.

Is digital footprint bad for the environment? ›

Our digital world accessible at just a click of a button does in fact leave a trail of waste and emissions on our planet. Currently, 2.5 billion people in the world are connected to the internet, and with this figure set to grow, so will the carbon footprint generated from the digital world.

How do I protect my digital footprint? ›

How can you protect and reduce your digital footprint?
  1. Beware what you share. Limiting what you share online is one of the best ways to manage your digital footprint. ...
  2. Avoid unsafe websites. ...
  3. Be cautious on public networks. ...
  4. Delete what you don't need. ...
  5. Stay up to date. ...
  6. Use an identity protection service.

Why is digital footprint important for students? ›

It's also important for students to understand that their digital footprint can impact what people perceive about them and how they engage with them offline, now and in the future. Whether it's with a friend, an admissions counselor, or a future employer — disrespectful behavior online can have real-life consequences.

What are 3 types of digital footprints? ›

Types Of Digital Footprints

Personally identifiable: The information linked to the individual's real name. Anonymous: Anonymous data collection. This type of digital footprint conceals the IP address. User input: The data that is generated as a result of user input.

What are the 2 types of digital footprint? ›

There are two types of digital footprints that you should be aware of: your active but also your passive footprint.

What is an example of a positive digital footprint? ›

Some examples of ways to showcase yourself positively online include: Write a blog post about a book you read. Create an online sponsorship page for a specific fundraising activity that you're involved in. Write an article for your school about your experience on a camp, excursion or student exchange program.

What are 5 ways you can reduce your footprint? ›

5 Ways To Reduce Your Footprint Significantly
  • Avoid Mass Market, Throw Away Fashion.
  • Reduce your Meat and Diary Consumption.
  • Refuse Single-Use Plastic.
  • Reduce and Rethink your Transportation.
  • Switch to Green Energy.

How can we reduce human footprints? ›

Then, incorporate these suggestions to reduce your ecological footprint and make a positive impact!
  1. Reduce Your Use of Single-Use, Disposable Plastics. ...
  2. Switch to Renewable Energy. ...
  3. Eat Less Meat. ...
  4. Reduce your Waste. ...
  5. Recycle Responsibly. ...
  6. Drive Less. ...
  7. Reduce Your Water Use. ...
  8. Support Local.
27 Apr 2017

Why are footprints so important? ›

Scientists can learn a lot from sites where human footprints have been found, including: Estimates of height, weight, and gait of the humans who made the footprints - which also tells us how many people made the footprints.

What are examples of a digital footprint? ›

What are examples of digital footprints?
  • Your search history.
  • Text messages, including deleted messages.
  • Photos and videos, including deleted ones.
  • Tagged photos, even those you never wanted online.
  • Likes/loves on sites like Facebook and Instagram.
  • Browsing history, even when you are on 'Incognito' mode.
12 Sept 2018

How is a digital footprint created? ›

A digital footprint is a trail of data you create while using the Internet. It includes the websites you visit, emails you send, and information you submit to online services. A passive digital footprint is a data trail you unintentionally leave online.

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