Do Students or You Know about Their Digital Footprints?
By National Hall of Fame Teacher Alan Haskvitz
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Do students know about their digital footprints or do you? The answer is most cases is no. Those caught up in the excitement of seeing their name or image on the screen forget that this isn’t just a passing fad, but forever. With technology altering the way we teach and the way students learn it is mandatory that educators take a look at what a digital footprint is and how students can limit it.
Even the term, digital footprint, means very little to some students. So the best place to start is to explain how people learned to track as a way of finding animals. Thus the term footprint means that they are, in fact, the animal being tracked. The digital term is easier for students to understand as it means anything that they do that requires the use of technology. In other words a digital footprint is the traces that they leave on the Internet.
The biggest mistake is that students and others don’t understand that hitting the delete button does not remove the image one it has been placed online. It remains there forever, including in their own computer. Just as the history of where you have gone is traceable so can the images and comments that appear on everything from Facebook to Twitter to emails and beyond. This leads us to the first rule: Don’t put your name on anything. Use pseudonymous.
Next, have students make a list of all their accounts and all the people that they communicate. They should make sure that all setting when talking with these individuals is on privacy in their security settings. Having the students use
should help in this regard. This will also show them sites that they no longer use and these should be deleted.
The next step is to have them check their passwords for each account and make sure they are not using the same one. This avoids having all their accounts compromised. As well, there should be an absolute promise that the materials sent are only to those on a need to know basis. Don’t send out mass mailings. Having a good username that is different for each account is also a help.
When sending pictures don’t send the names of the people in the photo or where it was taken. Those people who don’t know who in is the picture can ask.
Next, have an email for each account. They are free, in most cases, and although they make it more of a burden to handle passwords and user names, they can also serve to help you control what is going out and make it far easier to handle incoming messages as they go to specific accounts. Limit the email accounts to five or six so it is easier to check your messages.
Indeed, the use of major tracking search engines can also impact your searches as they seek to provide you the information you may want first. It is almost impossible to limit this. This link explains that concept:
It is difficult to avoid this especially as some eduction sites require a log-in. Again, that is why http://www.reacheverychild.com is so unique as no log-in is required. To avoid cookies you can check out this site:
You may also want to download https://www.ghostery.com/ and others such sites to avoid such tracking.
Ultimately, it comes down to self control and making sure the student knows that the Internet can be used as a tool for good and evil. Even the IP address on the computer used can be tracked
http://www.wikihow.com/Block-Your-IP-Address and so it is valuable that it is made clear that the simple act of placing a message and/or photo on the worldwide web could be used by potential employers and others to get a profile that may not be flattering and those who have ulterior motives may also be lurking.
The bottom line is make sure that all sites that are used and all messages are sent with caution and if you are using the Internet for searches.
Videos that explains the concept
A lesson on digital footprints
Statistics on digital footprints
Very important to show how few people actually check.
A large link site