Everything You Need To Know About Your Child’s Digital Footprint and How To Protect ItMar 18, 2023
In today's digital age, children are growing up surrounded by technology. They use social media, play online games, and share personal information with their friends and family over messaging apps.
While all these things are a normal part of modern life, each of these activities leaves behind a digital trail, also known as a digital footprint. This footprint can have lasting consequences, both positive and negative, that can affect your child’s future opportunities and relationships.
As parents, educators, and guardians, it's crucial to understand what a digital footprint is and how we can help children manage it safely. Read on to understand more about what the potential risks are from your child having a digital trail and what steps you can take to help your kids become responsible digital citizens.
- What is digital footprint?
- What are the risks for your kids?
- What is sharenting?
- How to protect your child’s digital footprint
What is digital footprint?
A digital footprint is the trail of data or information that a person leaves behind when they use digital devices or online services. It is essentially a record of a person's online activity. It can include the websites you visit, the content you share, and personal information that you provide to the platforms you’re using.
What are the risks for your kids?
There are several reasons why you should be mindful about your child’s digital footprint.
- Physical safety: If your child is sharing personal information online, they may unknowingly be sharing details about their location, school, or contact details. This can obviously present a risk to their physical safety.
- Identity theft: Any online identity—even a child’s—is at risk of being used by hackers or scammers for the purposes of identity fraud.
- Online reputation: Every interaction that your child has online is contributing to their online reputation. This is something which can potentially be looked at and analyzed in the future. It could affect opportunities such as getting into college or finding a job.
What is sharenting?
Another risk that children face from establishing a presence online can actually come from us as parents and caregivers. It’s known as “sharenting.”
Sharenting is a term used to describe the sharing of a child's personal information online by their parents or guardians, usually on social media. This can include photos, videos, and personal stories or details about the child's life.
Sharenting has become increasingly common in recent years, with many parents using social media to document and share their children's milestones, experiences, and achievements.
While sharenting can be a way for parents to connect with friends and family and share their parenting journey, it all contributes to your child’s digital footprint. In the same way that their behaviors and interactions online can be judged in the future, anything that you share about them digitally can be too.
How to protect your child’s digital footprint
Prevention is better than cure when it comes to protecting your kids’ digital footprint. Being a responsible digital parent and helping your child to navigate the online world safely is the best way you can protect them.
All the regular rules of internet safety apply here: Be mindful of what you and your kids are sharing online, be aware of the privacy settings and parental controls that you have at your disposal, and have open and honest conversations with your children about how to behave online.
For more resources about protecting your kids online and raising them in the digital age, check out my digital parenting courses.
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