“In the future your digital footprint will carry far more weight than anything you might include on a resume.” Chris Betcher
Your digital footprint is any information you leave about yourself online. This public and private digital trail of information can greatly influence your future for good or bad. Employers, universities, and relatives of future partners will likely check social media to get an impression of you.
Social media use can have a large positive or negative influence on your child’s future, opportunities, and happiness.
Recognize the benefits of social media for your child. Positive social media posts can:
- Increase their chances of getting employment or promotions.
- Increase their chances of getting into post-secondary education or being scouted by teams.
- Be used by parents, family and friends of people they know.
Be aware that youth may not consider the possible negative consequences of social media, such as:
- Increased drama.
- Increased anxiety.
- Attracting unwanted attention from the wrong people.
- Possible legal implications.
Be aware that social media sites are designed to be habitual and addictive. Research shows that youth:
- Mostly feel they are anonymous online.
- Seem to forget, or momentarily stop caring, when making posts that can be viewed by others.
- Are unaware of the size of their digital footprint, or the impression their digital footprint creates.
- Don’t appreciate that their posts communicate who they are and how they want to be treated.
Help your child to clean up their social media footprint. Provide them with these key tips:
- Use Google to search for yourself (eg. “Katy Perry”). This will find what you and other people have posted about you.
- Set privacy settings on all your social media platforms.
- Delete old posts you don’t want anymore. At the very least this shows growth.
Help your child to be aware of future considerations when posting to social media. Provide them with these key tips:
- Show talents, hobbies, interests, positive memories, and experiences.
- Focus on posting positive content over time. This shows a pattern of personal growth.
- Pause and think before you post emotional or impulsive posts.
- Remember that likes, retweets and people you follow influence people’s impression of you too.
From Rogers Cybersecure Catalyst: Digital Footprint – a Positive Digital Image (Grades 7-12)