The Internet is an amazing thing. Anything that you want to know, you can find the answer on the Internet. You can socialize with people online and basically do anything you want. What some people may or may not know is that anytime you search or do anything online, you leave traces of where you have been. Who can see these traces?
What is your Digital Footprint?
Every time you go online you leave behind traces of where you have been like footprints in the snow. These traces are called your digital footprint. You may think that the sites that you go on, the online shopping that you do, and the comment that you posted on Facebook, but deleted, might not be seen or stored by anyone but that is not the case. When you visit websites online, they may put cookies on your computer. Cookies are small files put on your computer by the websites that you visit. These files can track your activity on their site. (“Online Privacy” 2014)
One thing that you can do to prevent being tracked is to get anti-tracking software. A few good programs are:
Pros and Cons of Your Online Data
Online shopping can be so much easier and more convenient then going to an actual store. On the Internet, basically everything you could ever want is at your fingertips. When you visit an online store, they place cookies on your computer so that they can see what you are looking at on their site. With that they can store your information and process it to find things out about you like your interests, favourite activities, and your behaviours. That information about you is important to them because then they can use it to target you for specific advertisements. This is good for the company because if they know the kinds of things that you like then they can get a pretty good idea of what to try to sell you, then they will make more money. It can also be good for you because then you can get more of the things that you like. One danger that this ability has is that the same information that these sites can access, hackers can also access this information and use it for identity theft. (“Your Digital Footprint and Privacy Concerns” 2015)
The amounts of time that people spend online increases every year and the more time you spend online, the more information that is being put out. On Social Media, when you post a picture, comment or video, that post is available for the public to see. There may be personal information online about you that wasn’t intentionally put there by you. If you are tagged in a photo that someone else posted of you, then that photo is still associated with you. Sometimes it might not necessarily be a photo that you want certain people in the future to see. (“Your Digital Footprint and Privacy Concerns” 2015)
Consequences of your Digital Footprint
Did you know that 75% of companies have policies that require the hirers to do online research about the candidates applying for the job? 70% of United States citizens who are looking to hire rejected certain people based on information they found online. You might be considered for a job but if they see lots of pictures of you partying and having a bad attitude online then that might stop them from hiring you. On the flip side, they might see something good about you online and that might make them decide to give you the job. 85% of United States citizens looking to hire said that good things that they found online about the candidates applying, influenced their hiring decisions. This not only goes for jobs but also universities and collages too. What they find is up to you. (“Your Digital Footprint: Online Reputation Breakdown” 2015)
The Internet can be a wonderful place. Any information that you could want to know is at the tip of your fingers. Social Media can help you stay in touch with your friends and family and the online shopping that is available, is convenient and easy. Every time you go online you leave traces of where you’ve been. Be careful what you post online because it could come back to you one day.
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Jaro, Becca Lee. Your Digital Footprint. Digital image. YouTube. YouTube, 3 Oct. 2014. Web. 31 Jan. 2016. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6TUMHplBveo>.