#makeITsafePH: Educate your kids about digital footprints

Our digital footprints define who we are online. In this digital era, with most kids and teens having social media accounts, parents and guardians constantly remind children to be positive online influencers.

But are your kids aware of such thing as a digital footprint? If not, it is about time that they are educated about this.

What is a digital footprint?

When visiting a website, have you noticed a statement, which usually appears at the bottom of the page, that informs you that the site uses cookies? Websites use cookies to obtain important information about those who visit their sites. This information is the digital footprint of the visitor.

Some websites don’t have these notifications, but they do keep your vital information. Whatever website you visit, you leave behind your digital footprint.

What information are obtained?

Aside from the obvious, which are your photos, videos, comments and other posts, you also leave behind information that are not visible to the naked eye unless you are the website's administrator.

For one, the website will get your IP address, which is a very important information because it is your computer's ID on world wide web. Other vital data obtained include your computer or mobile device specs, operating system, browser used, language preferences, advertising ID and the pages you visited.

If the website requires you to give a mailing address, email or mobile number, and you entered these, it will be part of your footprint.

Companies use this information to find out who are the people who visit their websites and monitor their market reach. These will help them enhance their products and services and enable them to customize these to suit their market’s online interests and preferences.

Why is it important to teach kids and teens about their digital footprints?

Kids and teenagers are now constantly glued to social media platforms, posting and leaving comments without much thought. These actions leave digital footprints that will be forever recorded on the websites even if they would later delete these posts.

We got two teens at home, my niece and nephew who both have Facebook and Instagram accounts. My nephew also recently created a YouTube channel since taking videos has become a hobby. Another niece who is only 8 years old is not allowed to have social media accounts but is a big fan of YouTube.

I constantly tell them to be careful on what to post, like or comment since these will show the world what kind of persons they are. It was only recently that I informed them about digital footprints to make them extra cautious.

I explain that these platforms serve as a documentary of their life and should be a positive influence to their followers or subscribers, thus, they will be able to spread goodness and make people happy.

We are all Globe mobile users at home and so we are happy to note that the telecom company advocates the responsible use of social media and the net with its #makeItsafePH campaign under its CyberPinoy cyber wellness program. Being an authority in the digital lifestyle, Globe Telecom aims to educate consumers on the responsible use of the net, cybersecurity and how not to be a victim of online threats.

You can also be an advocate. Start at home. Educate yourself and your entire family about digital footprints, its importance and how to keep yourselves safe online.