Digital Footprints: What Do Your Footprints Say?

Just like there are safety hazards indoors and outdoors, there are also safety hazards online, including people who seem friendly, but could be dangerous. Supervise your children’s online activities and teach them to practice these safety habits while online.

Be Careful About

What you share online:

    • Never share passwords with anyone other than your parents. Passwords are personal and should be protected as much as you protect the keys to your house.
    • Never share personal information such as your name, address, email address, phone number, or what school you attend with people you do not know personally.

Where you share:

    • Never share your location when online. It is best to wait until you are home to share pictures of an event or activity on social media.
    • Never share that you are home alone. Posting that you are home without adult supervision is a safety hazard and may put you at risk for unwanted visitors.

With whom you share:

    • It’s best to only share information with close friends and family members. Social profiles are not always an honest representation of the person using the account and it is best to avoid interacting with people you do not know personally.

Be Smart About

Sites you visit:

    • Never guess the URL of a site you are looking for. Instead, use a search engine such as Google to search for the website.
    • Never click on sites that seem questionable. Only use information from reputable sites.

Emails you open:

    • Never open an attachment on an email unless you know the sender personally and know why they have sent the attachment.
    • Always check the sender’s email address to make sure it is a legitimate address and look at the other names included in the message. If you do not know anyone in the list, it is likely spam and should be deleted.

Links you click:

    • Always think twice before clicking on links sent in email or through other messaging platforms. If the link has a lot of strange characters in it such as % or $, it is likely a suspicious link and should not be opened.
    • Look for secure web addresses that begin with https. These are safe and have been encrypted so that no one can steal your information.

Educate your children about their digital footprint, and encourage them to think before posting pictures, videos, comments, and replies. Let your children know that their teachers, coaches, college admissions officer, and even future employers may view their posts, now and in years to come. Most importantly, encourage your children to be the very best version of themselves with others, be that in person or online.

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