I’d have to admit, like many others around the world, I’m always on the internet and literally excessively dependent on it. I’m constantly using my various social media accounts, searching things up on Google, and logging into different websites. And what’s most scary about that is that most of time, I’m unaware. Unaware about the terms of services and privacy settings, because why bother reading through all that important information, that is an agreement giving the site a lot of my personal information. No doubt almost everyone just agrees with them, and goes one with their regular lives. I know I’m guilty of it.
For those of you who are completely unaware on this topic, allow me to briefly explain. Every time we log into a website, post a picture or a status on a social media site, send a message to a friend, or search something up on a search engine, we leave a mark that states that we were there. What we do, what we say, where we are, can all be seen by people around the world. Complete strangers, people who you don’t know a single thing about, can find out about the last restaurant you were at, where you’re going on vacation this summer, even where you live. And most of this information can be found by simply searching up your name on any search engine. And this digital footprint that we leave behind, is all of our doings, we have the control in our possession of whether we want it to be positive or negative.
In this day in age, especially for teenagers, having control over our digital footprints is a lot more difficult than one may imagine. Because a lot of it is no longer under that particular person’s control. Friends, family, acquaintances, even strangers, all have a way of affecting our footprint. Which is why it is so important to make sure that you are surrounding yourself with people who you can trust and blocking those who are potentially harmful for your footprint. It indeed is quite difficult to keep out all of the negativity, but really it is in your hands to create the safe environment for yourself online.
Now, I chose to search myself up on Google and see what content would pop up. Since my name probably doesn’t belong to anyone else out there, a lot of the stuff that came up, were indeed mine. First off, my blog, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram accounts and the sort came up. Which are all pretty positive accounts of mine. And then local news articles that featured my name, as well as some of the extra-curricular activities that I have participated in were also brought up. Which I am pretty proud of. One thing that did come up, that was kind of embarrassing, but not something that is a mark on my reputation was, well pictures from my Grade 6 class blog. The pictures are just candid moments of when my classmates and I worked on various activities in class, most of them are just from a long time ago, so they’re kind of cringe-worthy. But other than that, fortunately everything that came up were mostly of my favor, and I would not be ashamed to show my family members, including my grandparents.