What is a Digital Footprint: Meaning and Definition - Loaris (2023)

Now that the digital world has become our irreplaceable part of life it also becomes important what life you lead there in this brave new world. People are starting to talk about “digital footprint” — your so-called digital alter ego. It is now the same as with the reputation in real life you should also care about your digital one.

It can now be considered a negligence not to pay attention to your digital part of existence. But rather it demands an ever growing conscience about what you share and what exactly you share like login credentials to some websites and info with too much personal flair to it on some social media or forum.

Digital Footprint Definition

A digital footprint is a trail of data you leave behind when you go online. Sometimes called an electronic footprint or digital shadow you leave when visiting different websites, sending an email or submitting an info online. It can be cookies installed on your device, apps that you share your data with, leaving a comment on some social media or shopping online.

A digital footprint can be active and passive. One can use it to track any person’s online activities and devices. That’s basically how the advertisers tailor their online ads specifically to any user so that they see only the ads they will be definitely interested in. But sometimes the thing gets abused when a data breach happens then you are completely unaware about where you data went and to whom.

Active and Passive Digital Footprints

An active digital footprint means when a user deliberately shares their info online. It includes things like online forums, social networking sites, subscribing to a newsletter and agreeing to accept cookies on your browser.

On the contrary, passive digital footprint means a user doesn’t know what they share and with whom. They are just unaware of the information that is being collected about them. Here it includes websites which collect info about users like how many times they visit the website, where they come from or what their IP address is.

Examples of Digital Footprints

Have you ever wondered what your digital footprint size is? Depending on how necessarily wide your online circle of interests is and how good your digital care is about yourself. The most common examples of digital footprints can follow into the next categories: social, reading and news, health and fitness, financial, shopping.

  • Social media;
  • Registration on a dating site or in an application;
  • Sharing data, photos and information with your contacts on social networks;
  • Communication with friends on social networks;
  • Using your social media credentials to sign in to other websites;
  • Using a news app to view an article;
  • Subscribe to any online news source;
  • Using various apps to track workouts and other activities;
  • Any data on the Internet related to your healthcare.

Digital Footprints Matter: Why?

Some people consider restricting the information shared online or filtering what they share. It’s an important thing to look at from the point of shaping your digital persona. Don’t think of it as something we only do when finding someone we are interested in romantically and checking their profile on Instagram or Facebook.

  1. Your future employer might actually do the same — to look you up on social media.
  2. Not only the employment but there are also other reasons to why the digital footprint matter:
  3. Cybercriminals can try to exploit your footprint in order to create phishing emails to further compromise your security or they can create a false identity based on you and put to risk others;
  4. Content that you’ve intended for a private group or chat could end up in a wider circle putting to a risk your reputation and possibly your relationships with other people;
  5. Everything that you write or post online could be misunderstood or intentionally altered causing unwanted offence;
  6. Apart from reviewing your resume an employer can also see your social media profile to get a closer look at future employee personality. The same is with universities and colleges before accepting a prospective student they might want to take a look also at your Instagram;
  7. Digital world won’t go away somewhere one day but will further establish itself as even an intrinsic part of our lives so how you look and what they say about you in a digital world will also be important;
  8. Digital footprints are relatively permanent. In the case of Facebook you have little control of what others might do with your post.

How to Protect Your Digital Footprint

Now that you know what a digital footprint is, it’s about the right time to learn how to protect it. Use the following tips to ensure the safety and security of your digital persona:

  1. Don’t hesitate after there’s been a data breach. If you suspect that your data might be at risk take immediate actions. Change your passwords or if you have used them elsewhere change them there as well;
  2. Regularly update your software. Cybercriminals always look for the exploits available and when they find a chance for the attack they will try their best. Don’t allow them to easily access your device and data.
  3. Set yourself a limit on what you share on social media. Try not to overshare. Don’t post about your location, travel plans and personal details;
  4. Use some identity protection service. In case your personal information and data gets stolen you can remediate the consequences by using some of the identity protection services.
  5. Don’t use your Facebook account to log in to other sites and apps. Convenience or not but your security and safety should be at the first place. Avoid connecting your Facebook account to any third party organizations.
  6. Check the secureness of your medical records. Verify if they are safe and secured. Criminals will use your medical records to get treatment in your name but their records will also easily get intertwined with your own. Periodically review your medical records to see any inconsistencies present.
  7. Delete old no longer used accounts. See how many accounts you have and get rid of those you don’t use anymore. It can be accounts from some social media, subscription to a newsletter. Reduce your digital footprint in order not to have problems in case of a data breach.
  8. Don’t work with your personal data while being on public Wi-Fi. Not to mention that public wifi generally is considered unsafe and unsecure to use because of its high susceptibility to security breaches.
  9. Don’t do anything on unsafe websites. You can know if the website is unsafe by the HTTP beginning in the address bar. On the contrary if the website has HTTPS beginning it is considered safe and secure. Such a website will also have a padlock at the beginning of the address bar. It is very important to use a virus scanner, malware protection, antivirus program to keep your PC safe.
  10. Restrict what data you share. Before you fill out an online form or send your personal information to some organization, evaluate if there are any risks that might present danger to your data. Look if the organization’s website is legit or the online form is real. Therefore, it is important to know the tips for protecting your personal data.>

How to Leave a Better Digital Footprint

After reading all the above you may now consider the question of how to shape a better digital footprint for yourself. For such a matter consider the following tips below:

# 1. Post Something Positive Online

Use any platform you like to post about your experience, interests, skills and achievements in a way other people that use it would take some good advice or motivation. Doing so via photos, videos, words or a mix of that you can show more positive things to read and see in this world, not only throwing positive light on yourself but also spreading positive messages to others. Read also: How to Create a Positive Digital Footprint

  • Uploading digital artworks to your blog if you’re interested in art or do it yourself. In addition you can also create a blog where you can publish different paintings and research some info about them for other people to get acquainted with their history and art value;
  • If you had some really cool experience, share it with others. You can also give your advices, tell a story that might inspire others. It can be a post about your work experience, excursion or meeting with some famous person;
  • If you are involved in any fundraising activity create a special page where other people could contribute to it and help. If you are volunteering for some organization dealing with stray dogs and cats you can show on some social platforms what you do and how others can help;

# 2. Think Before You Post

This tip comes in close relation to the first one. Before you go online and think of posting something, actually think of what you are going to post. For such a case , learn the next thing. If you didn’t know there’s a mnemonic that was designed by Melissa Pilakowski. And it goes like: evaluate what you are going to post by the following letters — True (T), Helpful (H), Inspiring (I), Necessary (N), and Kind (K). In short, THINK before you post.

#3. Google Yourself

The best and easiest way to start managing your digital footprint will be to simply look yourself up in Google or other search engines. If there’s something unflattering or that gives you a bad light you can contact the website’s administrators to remove it or you can also fill out Google’s URL Removal tool to fix the problem. In such a way you might come across your old long time unused social media accounts that you want to delete or their content.

#4. Manage Your Online Presence

Keep a list of all accounts that you use and immediately delete those you no longer need. For such matter use special websites that can help you group all your accounts to share later with the public. Of course it’s easy to forget those accounts if over time you can create up to fifty different accounts and not remember all of them, especially when they were used only one time. But look up in the Wikipedia article about the most popular websites the names you might remember to create an account on and go through all long forgotten accounts to evaluate whether to delete them or keep them.

Digital Footprint

FAQs

What is a digital footprint easy definition? ›

So what is a digital footprint? 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 is digital footprint and tell its types with example? ›

There are two main types of digital footprint: passive and active. A passive digital footprint is data you leave behind without knowing when using the internet. For example, your IP address, approximate location, or browser history. An active digital footprint is created when you deliberately submit information.

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 do you mean by digital footprint Class 11? ›

Definition of Digital Footprint (DF)

Digital footprint (DF) is the electronic trail we knowingly or unknowingly leave behind each time we access the internet or other electronic devices. It is created when we access services, post, or make comments on the internet.

What is the definition footprint? ›

1 : an impression of the foot on a surface. 2a : the area on a surface covered by something a tire with a wide footprint the footprint of a laser beam. b : range of operation (as of a service) a global footprint. 3 : a marked effect, impression, or impact left a footprint in the field of research.

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 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 a digital footprint and why is it important? ›

Your digital footprint is the record of all your interactions online. Once something is posted 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.

Is a phone call a digital footprint? ›

Techopedia Explains Digital Footprint

This digital footprint can be shared actively or passively. In active data trace, users share their activities intentionally, like social media activities, online chatting, phone calls or blog posts.

What are the 4 types of footprints? ›

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

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.

What is digital footprint PDF? ›

A digital footprint represents an. individual's online presence and provides evidence. of their digital and real world identities. It logs the. trail and artifacts left behind by individuals.

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 is a digital footprint Brainly? ›

A digital footprint is your online identity and individuality and is what makes you unique. It is builds the online reputation, or impression depending on the things you do online. It is important to be aware of it because anything posted online is permanent and stays there forever regardless of being deleted .

What is footprint example? ›

The definition of a footprint is the mark left by a foot or shoe, or the area that something occupies. An example of a footprint is the indentation left as a person walks by the water on the beach. An example of a footprint is the length and width of the space occupied by the couch.

What type of word is footprint? ›

Word forms: plural footprints. countable noun. A footprint is a mark in the shape of a foot that a person or animal makes in or on a surface.

What causes footprint? ›

The major contributors to carbon footprints are: food, consumption, transportation, and household energy.

What are the benefits of a 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.

What are the impact 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 are good digital footprints? ›

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

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.

Who can see my digital footprint? ›

Digital footprints don't merely attract the interest of hackers or those out to steal your identity. They can also be traced by potential employers, schools, or creditors. Managing your identity clearly matters.

How can you control your digital footprint? ›

You can also boost your online security by following the steps below for how to protect your digital footprint.
  1. Look yourself up online. ...
  2. List down all your accounts. ...
  3. Use privacy settings. ...
  4. Keep things professional. ...
  5. Keep your profile up to date. ...
  6. Don't overshare. ...
  7. Delete unflattering content. ...
  8. Check your browser for cookies.
26 Sept 2022

Can digital footprint see your messages? ›

Digital footprints include private messages, emails, browsing history, interests and dislikes, your relationship status, and even the angle at which you hold your mobile device. Anything that is tracked and stored is a part of your digital footprint.

Is texting a digital footprint? ›

While seemingly harmless, text messaging and emails are part of your digital carbon footprint, and over time, this footprint can become considerable.

Does texting leave a digital footprint? ›

An example of a digital footprint could be your browsing history, search history, likes, text messages, tagged photos, and videos, basically anything that leaves a digital trace that could be linked back to you.

Why is a footprint important? ›

Footprints refer to the imprints left by the person walking. They play a very crucial role in the forensic analysis of the crime scene. It helps to identify all the individuals present at the commission of a crime. Traces of the footprints are collected and 3D Pictures of the same are captured for further analysis.

How are footprints stored? ›

To preserve the prints, detectives take detailed photographs that can be scanned into computers for analysis. In many cases, technicians will make a casting of the print so that a duplicate may be produced. The casting process involves pouring a dense liquid into the actual shoe imprint and allowing it to set.

What are the characteristics of footprints? ›

Their size, shape, position and presence of the phalanges mark are highly characteristic and can help in the personal identification. The presence of phalange marks is often noticed in toe 1, whereas phalanges marks of toes 2–5 are usually absent in footprint impressions unless the footprint is made on very soft soil.

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.

Can digital footprint be removed? ›

Can you entirely erase your digital footprint? Unfortunately, it's not possible to delete your digital footprint entirely. There will always be some information that you cannot erase — like that held by third parties and hidden from you.

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.

How is a digital footprint used? ›

Your digital footprint is used by advertisers to target you with customized ads. For example, if you look at a pair of shoes online, you may later see ads for those shoes or similar items. Your digital footprint is also used by employers—both current and prospective.

What is your digital footprint example Brainly? ›

Answer: A digital footprint is your online identity and individuality and is what makes you unique. It is builds the online reputation, or impression depending on the things you do online. It is important to be aware of it because anything posted online is permanent and stays there forever regardless of being deleted.

What is the best definition of digital citizenship? ›

DEFINITION of Digital Citizen: A person who uses the Internet regularly and effectively. A good digital citizen is one who knows what is right and wrong, exhibits intelligent technology behavior, and makes good choices when using technology.

› Dictionary ›

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What is a digital footprint definition for kids? ›

A digital footprint is the trail of information you leave behind when you use the internet. Depending on your values, priorities, age, life stage, school, family expectations and other factors, you'll want to set and keep boundaries that work for you.

What is a digital footprint lesson for kids? ›

A simple but effective way for pupils to start to consider their online presence. The worksheet requires pupils to consider the many ways in which they use the Internet and how this contributes to their own digital footprint. Pupils can compare digital footprints with their classmates or with members of their families.

What is digital footprint Why is it so? ›

Your digital footprint is the record of all your interactions online. Once something is posted 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.

What is a digital footprint GCSE? ›

A digital footprint is anything which is posted on the internet. It could include text, posts, images or other personal details. On some platforms such as Facebook, once data is uploaded the user no longer owns the data or images.

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 the 4 types of footprints? ›

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

What are the benefits of digital footprints? ›

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 do you teach students about their digital footprint? ›

5 Ways to Teach Children About Their Digital Footprints
  1. Explore Other People's Digital Footprints.
  2. Ask Your Child to Google Themselves.
  3. Teach Them to Think Before Posting Online.
  4. The Importance of Being Careful When Using Other Phones or Computers. Encourage Children to Use Different Passwords.
2 Aug 2022

How does digital footprint affect us? ›

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.

Is digital footprint safe? ›

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.

How do people use your digital footprint? ›

Companies may use this information mainly for marketing and strategic purposes. Seeing trends in that data can help them make their sites more effective, show them where to put advertising dollars, and help them refine their search listings and results.

What is a digital footprint BBC Bitesize? ›

A digital footprint is all the information that you leave behind when you use the internet. View comments 9.

What is a digital footprint UK? ›

What is your digital footprint? Whenever you visit a website, share a photo or make a comment online, you leave a digital footprint that other people can see. Your digital footprint includes all the information you share or that's collected about you online, and there can be a lot of it.

What is digital footprint PDF? ›

A digital footprint represents an. individual's online presence and provides evidence. of their digital and real world identities. It logs the. trail and artifacts left behind by individuals.

› ... › Basics of Digital Marketing ›

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