Digital Footprint (Part One)


As more classrooms fill up with technology, so increases the need for our students to truly understand the concept of Digital Footprint.  From Webopedia:  On the Internet a digital footprint is the word used to describe the trail, traces or “footprints” that people leave online. This is information transmitted online, such as forum registration, e-mails and attachments, uploading videos or digital images and any other form of transmission of information — all of which leaves traces of personal information about yourself available to others online.

There are quite a few great websites geared toward kids.  Here are a few to explore with your students:

Kidsmart: Digital Footprints

Digital footprint: Cybersmart

According to a study by AVG, the Internet Securities company, 92% of children under age 2 already have a Digital Footprint. A little over 1/2 of all kids between the ages of 6-9 regularly use a social network.

With that in mind, here is a great site geared toward educating parents about their child’s Digital Footprint:

Your Digital Footprint: How to preserve your kids online reputation

Here is a collection of youtube videos about Digital Footprint.

A final note on this topic is that a Digital Footprint can be a very positive thing as well.  Increasingly people are putting greater weight toward our online identities.  Just this past week, a high profile ad company announced they had an opening and would not be accepting resumes.  The requirements were high Kred and Klout scores and an active Twitter feed with over 1000 active followers.

More on the Twitter resume can be found Here and Here.

Safe surfing everyone!


About mitchchampagne

I am a husband of one, and a father of three. I am am elementary teacher for the Peterborough, Victoria, Northumberland & Clarington Catholic District School Board and a part-time Faculty member at the School of Education and Professional Learning, Trent University.
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7 Responses to Digital Footprint (Part One)

  1. jhengstler says:

    Liked your graphic!
    A couple of things to keep in mind: there are several parts to a digital footprint or identity. Much of the graphic was focused on what’s been called your ‘active digital footprint’–content you voluntarily share & post. People should be aware that there are 2 other parts to remember as well: your passive digital footprint and what I like to call your second-hand digital footprint.

    A passive digital footprint is information collected about you. For example, when you login to a computer at work or school, that system is collecting data about you, when a student logs on to an LMS like Moodle, in the back end the system has the potential to collect lots of behavioural data–like paths taken through content, etc.You don’t actively share that information as you would do in the case of posting an update in a timeline. This is how companies like Amazon make suggestions for you.

    The last case is the second-hand footprint. This is content about you that others post and share about you–with or without your knowledge. The video of the kid in the car is an example. Also in the case of minors, there is the issue of who can and should be required to have informed consent–that ability of an individual to allow others to capture/use their personal information–as long as the person is clear what will happen to/with the information. There is a real struggle these days with how to manage people’s data in respectful ways–the Instagram/Facebook debacle was one of the more recent big stories.

    People need to be aware of all parts of their digital footprints. When they are using platforms or services they should be asking: if I get this service, what do they get from me in the way of value (i.e. personal information), what will they do with it, how do these services that are free & social make a profit?

    When it comes down to it, we should each be treating ourselves–and our data–like a brand with value we cherish and respect–and ask others to do the same.

    • You have so eloquently reminded us of the many facets of Digital Footprint! Thank you for these important points. I especially agree with your conclusion: “When it comes down to it, we should each be treating ourselves–and our data–like a brand with value we cherish and respect–and ask others to do the same.” This is something we focus on for parents and teachers of tweens in our Saving Face program.

  2. Jan Harding says:

    Great resource for teaching students about their Digital Footprint:

  3. Good list. My students loved ‘digital dossier’. We also discussed what the heck that word meant. I have one Brit (or Aussie?) who knew immediately.

    Thanks for the list. I keep a running inventory. It is a subject I cover in depth with 4/5th graders.

  4. pmillerscdsb says:

    Hey Mitch,
    Been thinking about digital footprint as digital tattoo as it is currently permanent. Perhaps a job of the future is Digital Footprint Restoration Technician.

    • Hey Patrick,
      Thanks for the comment; it made me laugh – and think. I imagine those types of people are out there already, working for politicians etc. The last part of digital footprint I need to write about (Part 2), will focus on the last aspect – what others post about you online. Much harder to control that.

    • Jan Harding says:

      Wanted to update the digital footprint resource I left earlier, as revisions have been done on our site. The 21 Things 4 Students is a project based, FREE resource supported by Michigan ISDs and the REMC organization to help students gain technology proficiency. “Digital Footprint” is one of our “things”.

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