Digital Footprints – Useful Tips and Tricks to Keep Kids Safe Online

The main role and responsibility of parents is to keep their kids safe and healthy. When we talk about safety, it is not just limited to the real-world, but the digital world as well. Just like adults, children spend a lot of time on the internet and access online information. Electronic devices like laptops, desktops, tablets, and smartphones have become a part and parcel of the day-to-day life of kids. Hence, online safety of kids is crucial. For this purpose, parents must teach their children about digital footprints and digital etiquette.

Digital footprint meaning

  • When kids walk on the beach, they leave behind their footprints on the sand.

  • Similarly, when kids are using the internet, browsing various websites for online information, sending emails, using social media platforms, they leave behind digital footprints.

  • Most kids and students are unaware about digital footprints and what it exactly means.

  • Digital footprint is the data trail or information that kids leave behind when they use the internet for various online activities.

  • Digital footprints are created and visible by uploading a photo or video, status updates, location updates, different groups joined, posts from other friends that have been liked or shared, and many other activities.

  • Digital footprints may also be personal information kids enter on websites, browse different websites, make online searches, emails they send, online information they read.

  • When we actually think about all the online activities that leave digital footprints, it is a lot of data that is left behind.

Being responsible parents, it is vital that children know about digital footprints for safety and security in the internet world.

Here are the tips and tricks that can help kids manage their digital footprints, and keep them safe in the digital world, when watching their favorite cartoon on YouTube or interacting with friends on Facebook.

What goes online tends to stay there forever

  • The most important lesson that parents can teach their children is that all data or information that is shared online, stays there even if it is deleted.

  • Kids must be told not to upload any images or videos that they wouldn’t like the public to see.

  • Also, it is not right to upload photos of other friends without asking their permission.

  • What is equally bad is participating in cyberbullying and harassing others.

  • Kids must think twice before performing any activity on the internet and keep in mind their digital footprints that are being generated for others to see.

 Avoid sharing personal information online

  • Children must be taught to keep personal information private and avoid sharing any such information with anyone.

  • Kids must specifically be instructed by parents to avoid sharing personal information like full name, address, phone number, date of birth, passwords with anyone online, be it a known or an unknown person.

Check the privacy settings

  • Every social media website has privacy settings for the users.

  • Children must be taught how to use and control the privacy settings in their account, and also the importance of keeping personal information private.

Keep a strong password

Most kids tend to keep easy passwords like their names, initials, date of birth, contact number, or a combination of all. With so many data breaches happening online, it is essential for parents to communicate with kids the need of keeping strong passwords.

Here are some useful tips and tricks for strong passwords.

  • Do not use the same password for two different websites.

  • Include a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters.

  • Make sure that the password has 8 characters or more.

  • Use a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters.

  • Never use names or dates as passwords

Just like keeping a strong password is important, kids need to follow the practice of changing them regularly.

Talking to kids about phishing message

  • There are several phishing scams being run on the internet.

  • May adults too fall for these scams and end up losing money or their account safety is compromised.

  • Parents need to explain to their kids what a phishing message looks like, and that they need to be careful when seeing any such messages.

  • Some examples include, Click the link to reset your password; Click to win a prize of $$$$; Click to verify your account, etc.

  • Kids need to be aware of the various trips and tricks to identify phishing messages. These include typo errors, suspicious attachments, sense of urgency, use of threatening language, email address with the wrong domain name, blurred images and logos, and much more.


Elements of digital footprints that kids leave behind can be easily searched, traced, and shared. Hence, children must follow certain digital etiquette so that they are safe when using the internet. Children must always keep the parents in the loop if anyone asks them for personal information or contact details online. Rather than hiding things from parents, kids need to be open, and immediately report anything wrong that is happening with them in the online world.