Everything that you do on the Internet contributes to your digital footprint. Understanding how to avoid a negative digital footprint and create a positive one are important skills in the digital age.
- [Instructor] Throughout this course, we'll discuss ways which can help you stay safe and secure when using the internet. And in most cases, this involves staying safe from people with malicious intent who are looking to compromise your privacy, security or personal information. There is another person that you need to be aware of though and that is yourself. Whenever you're active online, you're contributing to your digital footprint. Your digital footprint is your collective trail of actions while using the internet. This includes your social media activity, articles and assignments you submit, purchases you make and much more.
And although some of this information is kept more private than others, it all contributes to your digital footprint. I must admit that the great majority of students I've worked with are surprised about how much of their digital footprint is actually public. Have you Googled yourself lately? I recommend doing so and when you do, what do you find? Now, you may be wondering why this matters, but I can't emphasize enough that it does matter. It really matters. In a recent survey by CareerBuilder, 60% of employers use social networking sites to research potential candidates.
This is a number that continues to rise each year and only refers to social networking sites. Many more will Google you. Of these employers, 49% have claimed that they didn't hire a candidate due to what they found online. And of these employers, over 25% have admitted that they found content that has caused them to reprimand or fire an existing employee. Most employers will do an internet search for candidates or for employees. When they do, what will your digital footprint look like? Let's take a look at some of the reasons that employers didn't hire a candidate due to what they find online.
This includes them finding provocative or inappropriate pictures, videos or other information. Posts related to drugs or alcohol. Discriminatory comments. Bad mouthing others or poor communication skills. Doing any of these things is also likely a violation of your school's internet use policy and can result in severe consequences such as loss of internet privileges, expulsion or even legal issues. There are even more factors that you need to consider that are likely linked to your school's internet policy including avoiding plagiarism, not using the internet to steal including software, video or music that doesn't belong to you, don't bully or talk negative about classmates or instructors, and respect other people's privacy and security on the internet.
You shouldn't ever attempt to access someone else's accounts and you shouldn't share other people's personal information over the internet. Now, when most people discuss someone's digital footprint, they emphasize avoiding a negative digital footprint. In the digital age however, I don't think this is enough. I believe that it's critical to work hard to create a positive digital footprint. I've had students who are happy because they claim that when you Google their name, you can't find anything about them. I think they're missing the point. When employers are looking up candidates online, they aren't only looking for negatives, they're looking positives.
In the competitive world that we live in, I believe it's very important to paint a great online picture of yourself. How can you do this? Well obviously, avoid any negative behaviors online, but take the next steps. Connect with other professionals on social media sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. Join groups, conversations, forums and chats that discuss positive topics related to what you want to do or who you want to become. Share interesting articles or blog posts in order to show what you're passionate about.
Create a blog and share positive posts with the world. This lets people know what kind of person you are, what you're knowledgeable about and what you're interested in. If this is a topic you'd like to learn more about, I recommend checking out my course on Digital Citizenship which is in our library.
- Accessing your school's Internet policy
- Avoiding a negative digital footprint
- Understanding which websites are safe and secure
- Customizing your browser settings
- Staying secure when using the Internet
- Avoiding malware and phishing scams
- Using public computers
- Using free public Wi-Fi
- Purchasing textbooks online
- Taking precautions when browsing on mobile devices