Be Smart: Digital Footprint

11 May 2020

1 Woman Using Laptop

What is your digital footprint?

Your digital footprint is a record of all traces of your online activity – what you create, post and share. Each time you post something online, search for something or accept cookies from a website, you’re creating a digital trail of information. You could unintentionally be revealing your Internet Protocol (IP) address (a unique numerical identifier assigned to your device on a network), preferences, photos and other personal information.

Guarding your digital footprint is especially important during this COVID-19 pandemic, as we spend more time online to entertain ourselves, buy groceries and meals, as well as communicate with family, friends and colleagues. The digital information that we exchange during these times is ripe for exploitation by cyber criminals if we do not take the necessary precautions to share wisely.

2 Social Media Applications

Why does your digital footprint matter?

  • Cyber criminals may misuse information left by your digital footprint to access your accounts, steal your identity or even blackmail you.
  • Employers, schools, colleges and law enforcement officers may use your digital footprint as a basis for character assessment. It can have a lasting impact on your reputation, relationships and employment opportunities.
  • Anything you post online becomes a part of your digital footprint and may be difficult to remove, especially if your post has been copied and shared by others.
  • Even if you intended it to be shared in an online closed or private group, others may screenshot and share your private information publicly.

3 Computer Coding

How can I secure my digital footprint?

  • First, you can find out more about your digital footprint by entering your name into a search engine. This will help you get a better sense of where your information is online, and the content that you will need to delete accordingly.
  • Remove online content or posts that reveal your personal information.
  • Set your settings on social media platforms and your apps to “Private”. Check your settings regularly, such as every 3 months, as social media sites may change their privacy policies.
  • You should turn off geo-tagging or location settings on your phone and social media as that tracks your movements and regular routes.
  • Avoid sharing personal information such as your phone number, address and birth date online.
  • Avoid oversharing personal information. Your personal texts, photos and videos may be shared or leaked, even if you had intended it to be private
  • Always think before you post anything. Once something is posted online, it can be difficult to remove and may often resurface years later.
  • Build a positive digital footprint by posting only things that are helpful to others.

4 Surfing the Net

How can I secure my child’s digital footprint?

  • Parents, do note that anything you share online about your children adds to their digital footprint. Be mindful of what you post, as criminals can piece together details collected from posts, photos and videos that reveal your child’s full name, school, interests or whereabouts. While posting anything online comes with some risks, these are ways to limit them:
    • Use privacy settings: Ensure that privacy settings are set so that only the closest people in your online network can view your posts about your children.
    • Limit your audience: Only share posts about your children with close family and friends, or use a photo sharing website that requires a log-in to see the pictures.
    • If you’re uploading photos of your children, you might want to think twice before tagging them so that the photo can’t be traced back to them.
    • You should establish ground rules and equip your children with the necessary knowledge to stay safe online. It is best to keep your children off social media until you are comfortable that they know how to effectively protect themselves.
    • Once children have an online profile, they will be tagged in photos and videos, which magnifies their online presence. You should continue to monitor and speak to them about responsible online usage.For more tips -

5 Exercise Caution Online


Be Aware of What You Share